ISSAQUAH, Wash.-A sales gain and a slight tick up in margins fueled Costco to an 18.9 percent increase in net income in its third quarter, to $459 million.
Net sales rose 7.8 percent to $23.6 billion, including a same-store sales gain of 5 percent for the corporation as a whole. Same-store sales in Costco’s U.S. clubs were up 6 percent, while for the international clubs, same-store sales increased 4 percent.
In its statement on the quarter, which ended on May 12, Costco said gasoline sales actually had a negative impact on same-store sales. Factoring out gas, same-store sales for the U.S. and international clubs, and for the company as a whole, increased 7 percent.
Gross margin edged up 12 basis points to 10.7 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses were up 7.5 percent in dollars but down three basis points as a percentage of sales, to 9.8 percent.
Costco also said it plans to open up to an additional nine warehouse clubs by the end of its fiscal year, Sept. 1. Currently, it operates 627 clubs throughout the world.