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Costco third-qtr comparable sales fall 1 percent

Warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale reported a decline in quarterly comparable sales and lower-than-expected sales, hurt by gasoline price deflation and a stronger dollar that reduced value of sales from overseas markets.

Shares of the third-largest U.S. retailer were down slightly at $144.95 in after-market trading on Wednesday.

Comparable sales at outlets open more than one year declined 1 percent in the quarter, including fuel and foreign currency impacts. This was below the 0.7 percent growth expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

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Excluding the impact of fuel prices and currency, comparable sales rose 6 percent, still missing analysts' estimates of 6.20 percent growth.

A customer leaves a Costco store in Richmond, Calif.
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A customer leaves a Costco store in Richmond, Calif.

Rival Wal-Mart Stores reported quarterly sales and earnings below analysts' estimates last week, saying consumers spent less of their savings from the pump and tax refunds.

Costco sells gas at a lower margin, in order to attract more customers to its stores who then spend on higher-margin goods.

Net income attributable to the company rose to $516 million, or $1.17 per share, in the third quarter ended May 10 from $473 million, or $1.07 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1 percent to $25.52 billion.

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Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.15 per share and revenue of $26.63 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of Costco, the third-largest U.S. retailer closed at $145.42 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. Up to Wednesday's close, the stock had risen nearly 6 percent this year.