Costco Q3 earnings beat analyst expectations

Some analysts remain cautious ahead of Q4

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale had sales of $23.55 billion in third-quarter 2013, an 8% increase over last year's $21.85 billion, as well as a 6% increase in same-store sales, the club retailer said Thursday.

Profits for the quarter were $459 million, or $1.04 per share, compared with $386 million and 88 cents per share during the same period last year. For the three quarters of fiscal year 2013 so far, sales increased 8% over the same period last year, to $71.1 billion. The company saw a big boost in membership fees, to $531 million, compared with $475 million in third quarter 2012.

Wall Street analysts had expected the club retailer to have earnings per share of $1.03, and the company's results compared favorably with those of retailers like Target Corp. and Walmart, which "haven't hit their stride yet this year," according to investment website SeekingAlpha.com.

Still, some analysts were cautious, such as Guggenheim Securities analyst John Heinbockel, who gave the retailer's stock a "Neutral" rating in light of higher expectations of its earnings in the next quarter compared with a more difficult quarter a year ago. "It would not surprise us to see a correction over the next 3-6 months, although the timing of this is uncertain," Heinbockel wrote in a note to investors.

 

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