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Costco Q1 sees Double-digit Increases for Housewares

ISSAQUAH, WASH. - Costco Wholesale Corp. saw many of its high-margin discretionary categories, including housewares and jewelry, grow 10 to 25 basis point during its strong first quarter.
     Net income for the quarter, ended November 21, grew by 3.75% to $312 million, or 71 cents per share, from $266 million, or 60 cents per share.
     Sales jumped 11% to $18.8 billion from $16.9 billion a year ago. That includes the company's 50% owned Mexican joint venture. Without those sales the increase would have been 8%.
     Comparable sales for the quarter, were up 5% for the U.S. division, 14% for the international business, and 7% for the total company.
     Inflation in gasoline prices and strengthening foreign currencies had a positive impact on comparable sales. Excluding these effects, comparable sales for the twelve-week period increased 4% in the U.S., 10% internationally, and 5% for the total company.
     Costco expanded its club count in the first quarter by eight new units - seven in the U.S. and one in Alberta, Canada. Two more sites slated to open in the second quarter have been opened, bringing the current club count to 582 -- including 425 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, 80 in Canada, 22 in the United Kingdom, seven in Korea, six in Taiwan, nine in Japan, one in Australia and 32 in Mexico.
     For fiscal 2011, 27 new total sites are planned - 15 of them in the United States.

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