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Costco sees improvement

Issaquah, Wash. – Costco’s recently completed first quarter profit was flat, but the warehouse club said things are starting to look up.

“The bad weeks are not as bad, and the good weeks are better,” cfo Richard Galanti told analysts during the company’s quarterly conference call today.

Domestics are among the departments Galanti labeled as showed a first quarter same-store sales increase of 10% to 20%. The gain comes from favorable comparisons to a poor sales environment last year, he said, adding: “People are staying home a little more.”

November was “a little shakier” than September and October. The first two weeks of the second quarter have been profitable, “but you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he said.

For the quarter ended Nov. 22, net income was $266 million, or 60 cents per share, compared to $263 million, or 60 cents per share in last year’s 1Q.

Total revenues, including membership fees, increased 5.5% to $17.3 billion. Sales rose 5.5% to $16.9 billion.

Total company comps were up 3%, lifted by a 13% increase in international sales and a 1% increase in the U.S. Excluding currency exchange rates and the lower price of gasoline, comps rose 3% for the company, 8% in international and 2% in the U.S.



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