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Costco Profit up in Q4 and Fiscal 2010

ISSAQUAH, WASH. - Thanks largely to continued strength in consumables, which accounts for about 80% of sales, Costco Wholesale Corporation enjoyed high single-digit increases in net sales in its fourth quarter and full fiscal 2010, as well as more modest gains in comps for both periods.
     Fourth quarter net income rose 15.5% to $432 million, or 97 cents per share, compared to $374 million, or 85 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.
     Sales in the fourth quarter, ended Aug. 29, rose 8.0% to $23.59 billion. Including positive impacts from gasoline inflation and the strengthening of foreign currencies (primarily in Canada and Korea), comparable sales rose 6% for the total company, and by division 4% up in U.S. and 14% in International. Stripping out those factors, comps rose 4% for the total company, 3% in the U.S. and 8% in international.
     Fiscal year net income rose 19.3% to $1.30 billion, or $2.92 per share, compared to $1.09 billion, or $2.47 per share, during fiscal year 2009.
     The year's sales came in at $76.25 billion, up 9.0% from $69.89 billion in 2009.
     Comparable sales including gasoline inflation and currency impacts rose 7% for the total company, 4% in the U.S. and 19% in the International division. Excluding them, comps increased 4% for the total company, 2% in the U.S. and 8% up in international.
     Looking ahead, Costco said it plans to open up to nine new warehouse clubs in the first four months of the new fiscal year, prior to the end of calendar year 2010. Costco currently operates 573 warehouses, including 417 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, 79 in Canada, 22 in the United Kingdom, seven in Korea, six in Taiwan, nine in Japan, one in Australia and 32 in Mexico, as well as two e-commerce sites -- www.costco.com in the United States and at www.costco.ca in Canada.

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