Fresh Continues to Boost Costco Profits

ISSAQUAH, Wash. - Food, particularly fresh food, continues to contribute strongly to membership wholesale club Costco Wholesale Corp.'s bottom line, helping to boost its fiscal first quarter profit 11 percent to meet Wall Street targets.

"Fresh foods [grew] 9 percent -- basically all departments were positive," said Costco c.f.o. Richard Galanti. "Standouts were deli, produce, and fresh fish."

Sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2008, ended November 25, increased 12 percent to $15.47 billion, up from $13.85 billion last year.

The 11 percent increase in profit represented $262 million, or 59 cents per share, up from $237 million, or 51 cents per share last year.

Costco comparable store sales increased 8 percent for the quarter, driven by a 17 percent increase in international comps. U.S. comps were 5 percent for the quarter.

Costco operates 529 warehouses, including 389 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 75 in Canada, 19 in the United Kingdom, five in Korea, five in Taiwan, six in Japan, and 30 in Mexico.
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