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CE Buoys Costco’s Jan. Comps

Issaquah, Wash. — Costco reported a low single-digit increase in CE comp-store sales in January.

The gain continues a nearly year-long winning streak for the category, and contributed to the wholesale club’s total 7 percent comp for the month, excluding the negative impacts from lower gas prices and currency fluctuations.

Net sales for the four-week period, ended Feb. 1, rose 2 percent to $8.2 billion, and traffic increased 5.8 percent year over year.

But dramatically lower gas prices and the strong U.S. dollar led to a 5.5 percent drop in average transaction size, the company said.

Costco added that its year-over-year results were largely unaffected by East Coast store closings during last month’s winter storms due to comparable conditions in 2014.

The No. 1 wholesale club currently operates 671 locations, including 474 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It will report its fiscal second-quarter results, for the three months ending Feb. 15, on March 5.