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.
New Gap Inc. service enables universal shopping
SAN FRANCISCO Gap Inc. has launched a new online service, “universality,” which enables customers to shop at all of its brands at one time. Customers can now add items from the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime web sites into one shopping cart.
Gap Inc. added that customers benefit from a flat shipping rate of $7 and orders from Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy will ship in one box. Orders from Piperlime will ship separately and continue to offer free shipping and returns.
“We’re thrilled to offer our customers the ease and convenience of shopping our four amazing brands online with only one check-out,” said Toby Lenk, president of Gap Inc. Direct. “Universality allows us to leverage the strength of our iconic brands and still maintain each brand’s identity.”
Amazon.com to boost digital offerings
SEATTLE Amazon.com has plans to launch a streaming video service in the next few weeks as part of its plan to boost its digital offerings, said ceo Jeff Bezos, speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference, according to reports.
Bezos reportedly also talked about Amazon’s portable reading device, Amazon Kindle, saying it could possibly become an important part of its online business.
The company recently lowered Kindle’s price to $359 from $399.