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Costco Same-Store Sales Fall in January


Issaquah, Wash. Costco Wholesale Corp. said Wednesday its profit for the quarter ending in February will "substantially" miss Wall Street estimates due to poor sales and margins.

Same-store sales in January fell 2%, comprising flat domestic sales and a 9% decline overseas, hurt by the strengthening dollar. Total sales for the month dipped to $5.10 billion from $5.11 billion a year ago.

The retailer now expects earnings for its fiscal second quarter to miss the consensus estimate of 70 cents per share, though Costco did not provide specifics.

It also said it will not provide earnings guidance for the rest of the fiscal year.

"General economic conditions have negatively affected our sales, primarily in non-foods, and merchandise margins," CFO Richard Galanti said in a statement. "Our margins have also been impacted by aggressive merchandise pricing in our core merchandise business to drive sales and increase market share, particularly during the first four weeks of the fiscal quarter."

Costco operates 550 warehouses and plans to open up to 15 new stores by the end of August.

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