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Costco profit beats on sales of cheap gasoline

Tags: Costco, Retail
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Warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST-Q) posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as its lower-priced gasoline drew members to its stores.

Rising gasoline prices had a positive impact on sales, said the company, which prices the fuel below nearby stations.

Costco said on Wednesday that sales at stores open at least a year had risen 8 percent in February.

Sales rose 10 percent to $22.51 billion US in the second quarter ended on February 12 from $20.45 billion a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting $22.83 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company sells everything from strawberries to sweatpants to its members, who pay annual fees to shop at hundreds of large stores and online. Costco has said in the past that about 30 percent of its members buy gas and shop on the same day.

For the second quarter, Costco said earnings had risen to $394 million, or 90 cents per share, from $348 million, or 79 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 87 cents per share.

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