ISSAQUAH, Wash.–A double-digit sales increase helped drive Costco to a 17 percent pickup in net income in its fiscal first quarter.
The warehouse club’s bottom line totaled $312 million in the quarter, which ended on Nov. 21. Net sales increased 11 percent, which included a 7 percent gain in same-store sales.
Costco’s first-quarter sales got a boost from its 50 percent-owned joint venture in Mexico, which it formed early in the quarter. Without the numbers from this operation, however, the company’s sales still rose 8 percent. Comparable-store sales benefited from increases in gasoline prices and the strengthening of foreign currencies in countries where Costco has locations.
Expenses were kept relatively under wraps; gross margin rose 10 basis points to 11 percent, and selling, general and administrative expenses, while increasing 9.2 percent in dollars, dropped 19 basis points as a percentage of sales to 10.3 percent.