Costco reports profit of $425 million in first quarter 2014
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. had sales of $24.47 billion in first quarter 2014, the club retailer said.
The results, announced Wednesday, were an increase from the $23.20 billion reported in first quarter 2013 and produced a profit of $425 million, compared with the $416 profit last year.
Same-store sales for the quarter increased by 3%, including 3% in the United States and 1% in stores abroad.
While profits increased over the last quarter, the company’s earnings per share of 96 cents fell short of the $1.03 expected by analysts.
Guggenheim Securities analyst John Heinbockel gave Costco’s stock a "neutral" rating, noting that the results, while "disappointing," were not due to the health of the company itself, but rather factors such as a stronger U.S. dollar, decline in gross profits on gas and an unusual step-up in stock compensation expense. Additionally, the chain’s Canadian business was described as "robust," with an 8% increase in same-store sales.
Costco’s stock was at $118.35 per share on the NASDAQ in late-afternoon trading Wednesday, after opening at $118.10 and hitting a high of $120.30.
Reports: New York Board of Health votes unanimously to require flu vaccination for children in day care, preschool
NEW YORK — All children attending day care or preschool in New York must get a flu vaccine by the end of the year, according to published reports.
CBS News reported that the city’s Board of Health voted unanimously Wednesday to require all children younger than 5 attending a day care or preschool to receive the vaccine before Dec. 31.
"Vaccinating children produces ‘herd immunity’ in the general population," a notice issued by the board earlier this year on a planned meeting about the proposed rule read. "This means that vaccinating children against influenza reduces the number of influenza infections in everyone else, regardless of whether they were vaccinated or not."
The notice noted that despite promotion of influenza vaccination for children, coverage rates have risen slowly, with 61% of children aged 6 months through 5 years receiving the vaccine, compared with 56.7% in 2012.
"This still leaves nearly 4 out of every 10 young children unprotected," the notice read. "Furthermore, young children are at high risk of influenza-related complications and hospitalization, making this vulnerable group especially important to protect."
BitPay reports $100 million in transactions in 2013
ATLANTA — A company that allows merchants to use bitcoin has seen a spike in transactions this year.
BitPay said Wednesday that it had processed more than $100 million in transactions this year, and that its membership now included more than 15,500 merchants in 200 countries. The number of merchants has increased by more than 50%, while transaction volume has tripled since the creation of the All Inclusive Pricing Plan in October and the integration with Shopify in November.
The digital currency’s rise, covered by DSN last month, has lately attracted significant attention from brick and mortar and online merchants and investors. But many experts remain skeptical as to whether it is viable as a currency due to its extreme volatility, marked by tremendous growth in its price followed by a catastrophic fall whenever there’s bad news about it. Recent events like the Central Bank of China’s decision to forbid its use by financial companies and the arrest of Ross Ulbricht, who allegedly operated the online drug marketplace Silk Road, have caused large crashes in its value, and security issues have led to millions of dollars in bitcoins being stolen by hackers. One bitcoin was worth about $880 in mid-afternoon trading Wednesday, according to the online exchange Mt. Gox.