doesn't plan to restate its past results, but the warehouse retailer said an internal review has uncovered incidents where options awards weren't managed appropriately.
The examination found no evidence of fraud, falsification of records, concealment of actions or documentation, or intentional deviation from generally accepted accounting principles, the company said, but there were cases of what Costco described as "imprecision" in handing out the option grants.
"None of the options in which the review identified imprecision in the grant process were issued to the company's chief executive officer, chairman or nonemployee directors, except in April 1997, both the chief executive officer and the chairman received, as part of a broad grant to hundreds of employees, one grant subject to imprecision that may have benefited each by up to $200,000."
Other awards that might not have been properly given out went to a director who serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer and to a director who had no role in the determination of any grant date, but who serves as senior executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The company informed the
Securities and Exchange Commission
about its review and findings.
At the same time, Costco said fourth-quarter sales rose 19% from a year ago, and the earnings exceeded analysts' profit targets for the most recent three-month period.
Net sales rose to $19.50 billion from $16.37 billion a year ago, and same-store sales advanced 8%. Costco earned $355.6 million, or 75 cents a share, up from $354.7 million and 73 cents last year.
The company had lowered its profit guidance late in August. On average, analysts were looking for earnings of 73 cents and sales of $19.1 billion.