Costco Wholesale Corp on Thursday said its third-quarter profit fell 29 percent, as shoppers stuck to buying basics, like food and medicine, and pared back discretionary purchases of clothes or jewelry.

Costco, the No 1 U.S. warehouse club, said profit was $209.6 million, or 48 cents per share, for its fiscal third quarter ended May 10, 2009, compared with $295.1 million, or 67 cents per share, a year earlier.

Quarterly sales fell 5 percent to $15.48 billion, excluding membership fees, which decreased 6 percent to $328.4 million.

Sales at clubs open at least a year, a key retail gauge known as same-store sales, fell 7 percent. Excluding the negative impact from gasoline deflation and foreign exchange, same-store sales rose 2 percent.

Shares of the company closed at $48.83 Wednesday on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by David Cowell)