Costco Beats Estimates, Sales Up 7 Percent

Costco Wholesale reported a stronger-than-expected 7 percent rise in December sales at its warehouse clubs open at least a year, helped by higher gasoline prices and strength in foreign currency.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting an increase of 5.7 percent, according to Reuters Estimates.

Costco , the largest U.S. warehouse club operator, said net sales were $7.55 billion in the five weeks ended Jan. 6, up 10 percent from a year earlier.

On a recorded call, it said sales were strong in televisions, cameras, camcorders, sporting goods, and men's and women's clothing.

Same-store sales in its U.S. division rose 5 percent, boosted in part by a 27 percent rise in the average price of gasoline during the five-week period.

Excluding gasoline, it said U.S. same-store sales would have been up 4 percent.

International same-store sales jumped 16 percent, helped by strength in foreign currency, especially in Canada and Britain.

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