Coscto earnings beat expectations

Costco's net income rose 39 percent as the wholesaler pulled in more money from membership fees, improved sales, and a large tax benefit. 

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    Shoppers are pictured outside a Costco Wholesale store in Los Angeles last week. Costco's earnings for the second quarter beat analysts' estimates, with revenue climbing to $24.87 billion.
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 Costco's fiscal second-quarter net income climbed 39 percent as it pulled in more money from membership fees, sales improved and it recorded a large tax benefit.

The wholesale club operator earned $547 million, or $1.24 per share, for the period ended Feb. 17. That compares with $394 million, or 90 cents per share, a year earlier.

The current quarter included a tax benefit of 14 cents per share related to part of the special dividend that the Issaquah, Wash., company paid in December to its 401(k) participants.

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Even without the tax benefit, the results beat the $1.06 per share that analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Revenue climbed 8 percent to $24.87 billion from $22.97 billion. Wall Street predicted $24.85 billion.

Costco Wholesale Corp. said Tuesday that revenue from membership fees increased to $528 million from $459 million.

Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 5 percent. The figure also climbed 5 percent in the U.S. and increased 6 percent overseas.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Taking out higher gas prices and stronger foreign currencies, revenue at stores open at least a year rose 5 percent for the total company and in the U.S. The metric increased 4 percent internationally.

Costco currently runs 622 warehouses, including 448 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 23 in the U.K., 13 in Japan, nine in Taiwan, nine in Korea and three in Australia. The company plans to open up to an additional 14 new warehouses before its fiscal year ends on Sept. 1.

Its shares finished at $102.44 on Monday. They are near the high end of their 52-week range of $81.98 to $105.97.

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