Costco Shares Dip on Lower Than Expected Sales

SEATTLE (The Seattle Times/TNS) —

Costco shares fell 3.6 percent Thursday after the company reported lower-than-expected sales in its fourth quarter and fiscal year.

The warehouse giant on Wednesday reported net sales of $35.7 billion for its quarter that ended Aug. 28.

That was up 2 percent from $35 billion in the same period a year ago, but fell below analysts’ expectations of $37.2 billion, according to a Reuters consensus estimate.

Costco’s fiscal year sales of $116.1 billion also fell below analysts’ estimates of $119.3 billion. The sales figure represented a 2 percent increase, however, from the $113.7 billion logged last year.

Companywide comparable sales — meaning sales in stores open at least a year — were flat both for the quarter and the year. Excluding the impact of gas price deflation and foreign exchange fluctuations, comparable sales were up 3 percent for the quarter and 4 percent for the year, the company said.

In the U.S., comparable sales were flat for the quarter, and up just 1 percent for the year. Excluding the impact of gas prices and foreign exchange, comparable sales were up 2 percent for the quarter and 3 percent for the year.

Costco reported only its sales results Wednesday. It will report its full fourth-quarter operating results on Sept. 29.

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