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Costco Shares Waver as Membership Retailer Posts Q1 Net Ahead of Estimates

The Issaquah, Wash., company earned $1.90 a share against the FactSet-derived estimate of $1.72.
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Costco  (COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report shares were wavering in after-hours trading after the membership-based retailer reported fiscal first-quarter earnings per share advanced 9.8%, stronger than analyst estimates.

For the quarter ended Nov. 24 Costco earned $1.90 a share against $1.73 in the year-earlier quarter.

A survey of analysts by FactSet had been looking for earnings of $1.73 a share.

The Issaquah, Wash., company on Dec. 4 had reported that net sales rose 5.6% to $36.24 billion from $34.31 billion.

Comparable sales companywide for the quarter rose 4.3%, or 5% excluding the impact of gasoline prices and foreign-exchange fluctuations. U.S. comparable sales rose 4.7%, or 5% reflecting the exclusions.

E-commerce sales in the quarter, Costco said, were hurt by some 12 percentage points because the Thanksgiving-through-Cyber-Monday retail-sales rush occurred a week later than it did a year earlier. 

The timing knocked about 0.5% off total and comparable sales for the quarter.

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Costco currently operates 785 warehouses, including 546 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. 

At last check Costco shares were trading off 0.6%. They'd closed the regular session up 0.7% at $297.34.

Before the report, Costco's stock was trading at about 36 times trailing-12-months earnings, compared with 24 times at Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report and 20 times at Target.  (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report