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Costco Q3 Sales Rise 11%, Profit Up 18%

Issaquah, Wash. – Warehouse club retailer Costco Wholesale generated healthy increases in both sales and earnings during its fiscal third quarter, due, in part, to sales increases of higher-end products.

Sales rose 11 percent in the three months, hitting $9.3 billion, up from $8.4 billion in the year-ago period. Comp-store sales moved up 6 percent in the quarter.

Net income jumped 18 percent in the third quarter, ended May 11, reaching $153.8 million, compared with $130.4 million in the same time frame a year earlier.

Costco, which operates 416 warehouse units, 307 in the United States, plans to open three additional new locations prior to the end of its fiscal year in August. In calendar 2003, the retailer said it would add 12 new stores.

For the nine months, Costco enjoyed a 9 percent increase in sales, to $28.3 billion, up from $25.9 billion in the same period a year ago. Comp-store sales rose 5 percent during the period.

Net income for the nine months increased 6 percent, hitting $481.6 million, compared with $452.6 million in the same nine months last year.

Excluding a pre-tax charge of $26 million, reflecting an increase in workers’ compensation loss reserves, taken in the second quarter of the current fiscal year, net income for the current nine months would have been $497.6 million, reflecting a 10 percent increase over the prior-year nine month time frame.