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Financial Briefs

Costco’s Q3 Sales, Profits Rise

ISSAQUAH, WASH. – No. 1 wholesale club Costco said its third-quarter profits edged up 3 percent to $473 million.

Net sales for the period, ended May 11, increased 7 percent, to $25.2 billion, and U.S. comp sales excluding gasoline rose 6 percent.

In a research note, Janney Montgomery Scott retail analyst David Strasser suggested that unfavorable foreign exchange rates and lower gas prices crimped Costco’s otherwise solid sales performance.

The company currently operates 655 locations worldwide, including 464 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and plans to open eight new stores by the end of August.

Sears’ Q1 Losses Widen

HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. — Sears said the ongoing transformation of its business and weakness in CE contributed to deepening losses in the first quarter.

The company posted a $402 million net loss for the three months, ended May 3, compared with a year-ago net loss of $279 million. Net sales fell 7 percent to $7.9 billion, reflecting store closures, weakness at Sears Canada, the spin-off of Lands’ End, and declines in its service and delivery operations.

In the U.S., comps declined 1 percent, representing a 2.2 percent decrease at Kmart and a 0.2 percent increase at Sears stores.

Target’s Q1 Profits Tumble

MINNEAPOLIS — Markdowns, poor performance in Canada and the fallout from last December’s data breach proved a drag on Target’s first-quarter profits.

Net earnings fell 16 percent to $418 million for the three months, ended May 3, while net sales increased 2.1 percent to $17 billion.

In the U.S., sales edged up 0.2 percent to $16.7 billion and comp sales slipped 0.3 percent. Earnings before interest expense and income taxes ( EBIT ) were $1 billion, a decline of 13.5 percent, and gross margin rate was 29.5 percent compared with 30.7 percent in 2013.