Costco Makes Strides In Q4, Fiscal Year

Costco Wholesale Corp. finished a strong fiscal year with increasing momentum and locations opening in two additional countries.

Net income for the 53-week fiscal year was $2.68 billion, or $6.08 per diluted share, compared to $2.35 billion, or $5.33 per diluted share, in the 52-week prior year. Net income got an $82 million, or 19 cents per diluted share, boost from a tax benefit in connection with the third-quarter special cash dividend. Nonrecurring net legal and other matters produced net benefits of about $51 million, or seven cents per diluted share after tax.

Comparable sales, excluding gasoline and foreign exchange rate impact, increased 3.8%, with comps in the U.S. up 3.7%, those in Canada up 3.8% and those in other international markets up 4.5% versus the year before. E-commerce comparable sales gained 13% versus the prior fiscal year.

Net sales for the 53-week fiscal year were $126.17 billion, an increase of 8.7% from the 52-week 2016 fiscal year.

Net income for the 17-week fourth quarter was $919 million, or $2.08 per diluted share, compared to $779 million, or $1.77 per diluted share, in the 16-week period a year previous. Comps, excluding gasoline and foreign exchange rate impact, gained 5.7% with those in the U.S. up 5.8%, those in Canada up 4.8% and those in other international markets up 6% versus the quarter in the year before. E-commerce comparable sales gained 21% in the quarter year over year. Net sales for the 17-week fourth quarter were $41.36 billion, an increase of 15.8% from the 16-week fourth quarter of fiscal 2016

In the U.S., the Midwest, Southeast and Texas were sales regions that had the strongest comp sales performance year over year.

As for merchandise category comps, Softlines was up in the high single digits overall with housewares, home furnishings and jewelry performing best, the company said. Hardlines gained in the mid-single digits, with lawn and garden, tires and toys also seeing growth. Also within Hardlines, consumer electronics advanced in the high single digits. Food & Sundries comps increased about 4%, while those for Fresh Foods increased in the mid-single digits.

Costco opened 12 new locations in the fourth quarter: six in the U.S., two in Canada and one each in Australia, Japan, Iceland and France. The new clubs in Iceland and France represented Costco’s initial entries into those countries. Costco ended its 2017 fiscal year with 741 warehouses in operation.