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Costco (COST) delivers better-than-expected Q1 earnings on strong comp sales growth; sales miss

Warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) Thursday said its first-quarter earnings increased from last year, continuing the recent trend. Earnings topped the Street view, while revenues missed. Though the company’s stock gained modestly during the extended trading session on Thursday, immediately after the announcement, it slipped into the negative territory later.

Costco (COST) delivers better-than-expected Q1 earnings on strong comp sales growth

There was a 10% increase in November-quarter earnings to $1.90 per share, which also came in above Wall Street’s forecast. Net income rose to $844 million from $767 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Sales up 6%

The positive bottom-line performance reflects a 5.6% growth in net sales to $36.24 billion. That is slightly below the consensus estimate. Total same-store sales were up 4.3%, with all the business segments registering growth. E-commerce sales were up 5.5%.

Pricing Strength

Costco has long been a market leader, thanks to the heavy discounts and extensive merchandise assortment. Competitive pricing and steady membership growth continue to be the primary growth drivers, which also help the company keep expanding its market share.

Warehouse Network

At the end of the quarter, the company operated a total of 785 warehouses, including 546 in the US and Puerto Rico. It also operated 100 stores in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 16 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, 11 in Australia and two in Spain. There is one unit each in Iceland, France, and China.

Related: Costco Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Last month, Costco shares climbed to a record high, after gaining 43% since the beginning of the year. The stock, which has maintained a steady uptrend in recent years, closed Thursday’s regular session higher.

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