Costco Q4 profit falls 6% but beats Street

Issaquah, Wash. Costco Wholesale Corp. said Wednesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 6% partly on the stronger dollar and increased employee benefit costs, but results beat analysts' estimates.

The warehouse club operator earned $374 million for the quarter ended Aug. 30, down from $398 million a year earlier.

Revenue slipped 3% to $22.38 billion from $23.1 billion, but surpassed Wall Street's $22.34 billion sales estimate.

Same-store sales were down 5% in the quarter, with a 6% decline in the United States and a 3% drop-off internationally. Removing the effect of the stronger dollar and lower gas prices, same-store sales were up 1%.

International same-store sales rose 7% excluding these two factors, with Costco saying the stronger dollar mostly hurt results at stores in Canada, the United Kingdom and Korea. U.S. stores reported a smaller 1% decline.

For the year, net income slipped 15% to $1.09 billion, compared with $1.28 billion last year.

Annual sales fell 2% to $71.42 billion from $72.48 billion.

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