Costco Wholesale Corp on Thursday reported a smaller-than-expected 2 percent fall in August same-store sales, in a sign that the impact of the financial crisis is waning on U.S. consumer spending.
Analysts, on average, were expecting a fall of 5.7 percent in same-store sales, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Same-store sales at U.S. locations fell 4 percent, while international division sales rose 3 percent.
Excluding gasoline price deflation, the company said U.S. comparable sales would have been flat, while on a local currency basis international same-store sales increased 7 percent.
We had a slight negative impact in our August results due to the shift of the labor day holiday to one week later in the calendar, Bob Nelson, Vice President Financial Planning & Investor Relations, said in a pre-recorded telephone message.
However, he added that the shift of the labor day holiday would benefit September figures by a little more than about half a percent.
Customers pay an annual fee to shop at Costco's warehouses, which sell a wide range of products from laptop computers and bulk packs of toilet paper to fresh fruit and frozen dumplings. Many of the clubs also operate gas stations.
Moving to merchandizing, comparable sales results for August continue to show a better overall result in foods, sundries and fresh foods and softer comp sales results in the non-food discretionary categories, Nelson said.
Costco, the largest U.S. warehouse club, said total net sales for August were flat with last year at $5.4 billion.
The company plans to open seven or eight new warehouses, including one or two relocations, before the end of the calendar year.
Shares of Costco closed at $50.65 Wednesday on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Chakradhar Adusumilli in Bangalore; editing by Elaine Hardcastle/Will Waterman)