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Costco sees 4Q, FY profits slide


ISSAQUAH, Wash. Costco Wholesale announced that net sales for the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter ended Aug. 30 were $21.89 billion, a decrease of 3% from $22.63 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. Net sales for the 52-week fiscal year 2009 were $69.89 billion, a decrease of 2% from $70.98 billion in the 52-week fiscal year 2008.

Comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter, excluding the impact of fuel were up 1%. That figure includes a decline in U.S. comps of 1% and a gain of 7% in international comps. For the full-year period, Costco's comparable-store sales, excluding fuel, rose 3%, consisting of a 1% increase in U.S. comps and a 7% increase in international comps.


Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 was $374 million, or 85 cents per diluted share, compared to $398 million, or 90 cents per diluted share, during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.


Net income for fiscal 2009 was $1.09 billion, or $2.47 per diluted share, compared to $1.28 billion, or $2.89 per diluted share, during fiscal year 2008.


According to Richard Galanti, CFO of Costco, "Fiscal 2009 results, including those of the fourth quarter, were negatively impacted by these previously reported factors: on-going softness in U.S. sales, primarily the result of a weak economic environment; higher employee benefit costs, mainly consisting of higher health care eligibility and usage; and lower U.S. dollar amounts of international profits as a result of weaker foreign currencies."


For the five-week reporting month of September, ended Oct. 4, the company reported net sales of $6.85 billion, an increase of 3% from $6.67 billion during the similar five-week period of the prior year. Total company comparable-store sales, excluding fuel, were up 4%.

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