Costco’s Profit Up 32%

Issaquah, Wash. Costco Wholesale Corp. said Thursday that its quarterly profits jumped 32%, beating expectations. The company credits the increase to consumers who are shopping the stores to take advantage of the chain’s discounts on food and gasoline.

Costco reported a net income of $295.1 million for the fiscal third quarter, compared to $224.0 million a year earlier.

Sales for the quarter rose 13% percent to $16.26 billion, excluding membership fees. Membership fees rose to $350.9 million from $317.7 million for the quarter last year, the company said. Same store sales rose 6% at U.S. stores, and 16% at international locations.

Costco and discount rivals Wal-Mart Stores, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club have been successfully weathering a tough economy while the overall U.S. retail sector continues to struggle.

Costco plans to open an additional nine to 10 warehouses, including the relocation of four clubs, by Aug. 31, which marks the end of its fiscal year.

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