Costco comps increase 4% in April

Results at 'low-end' of some analysts' expectations as gas prices, foreign exchange create headwinds

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp.'s sales grew 7% in April over April 2012, the club retailer said Thursday.

Costco reported sales of $7.98 billion for the four weeks that ended Sunday, compared with $7.48 billion during the same period last year. Sales for the 35-week period that ended Sunday were $69 billion, 9% higher than the $63.59 billion recorded last year.

Sales in the United States at continuously open stores since last April increased by 4%, while same-store sales for the 35 weeks that ended Sunday increased 6%.

The results, while positive, were relatively low compared with financial analysts' expectations. In a note to investors Thursday, Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig noted that the 4% increase in same-store sales were "at the low-end" of Citi's forecast of 4-6% growth and below an overall consensus of 4.9% growth, while they also took a 2% hit from external factors like gas prices and currency exchange rates. Weinswig wrote that sales were expected to remain slow this month due to unfavorable weather conditions.

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