Costco's November Sales Up 5%

Costco Wholesale said November sales rose 5% at stores open
at least a year, shy of expectations, held back by
falling prices for gasoline sold at its filling stations.
Analysts on average had expected the largest U.S. warehouse
club operator to post a same-store sales increase of 6 percent,
according to estimates gathered by Reuters.
Total sales for the four weeks ended on Nov. 26 rose 9% to $4.45 billion.
Investors are watching November sales reports particularly
closely for clues on holiday spending trends after Wal-Mart
Stores gave a surprisingly weak preliminary sales
figure on Saturday.
Wal-Mart and other major retailers will release final sales
reports later on Thursday.
On a recording detailing its November sales performance,
Costco said the average price per gallon of gasoline it sold
was $2.20 in November, down from $2.28 a year earlier.
The retailer also noted weak demand in its media and
housewares departments. Food, candy, deli and big-ticket items
such as televisions sold well.
International same-store sales were up 10%, well
ahead of the 4 percent gain at the U.S. stores. Costco said
Korea and Japan were its strongest markets, and foreign
exchange rates helped lift its reported sales.