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Costco keeps comping, U.S. up 8%

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — January sales at Costco increased 11% to $7 billion with U.S. same-stores sales powering ahead by 8% excluding fuel, the company reported Thursday.

Results were aided by a 5% increase in member traffic at Costco’s 598 warehouses coupled with low-to-mid single-digit inflation in food categories. The company said the food and sundries and fresh foods categories comped in the high single digits while electronics was negative in the mid single digits. In addition to the increased customer traffic, the company said average transaction size increased slightly.

Costco’s impressive showing in January rounds out a 22-week period that ended Jan. 29 that offers a nearly complete view of the company’s performance for the quarterly period that includes an additional two weeks and ends on Feb.12.

Sales for the 22-week period increased 11% to $40.2 billion from $36.08 billion the same period the prior year. U.S. same-store sales were 6% excluding fuel. If higher year-over-year fuel prices are included in the comsp calculation, same-store sales increased 9% during January and the 22-week period as the average price at which Costco sold a gallon of gas in January was $3.35 versus $3.06 the same month last year.

Costco ended the month with a total of 598 warehouses worldwide including 433 in the United States and Puerto Rico. Another 82 units located in Canada and 32 units in Mexico made the strongest contribution to international results, according to the company. Costco ended January with 22 clubs in the United Kingdom., 11 in Japan, eight in Taiwan, seven in Korea and three in Australia. The company is poised to surpass 600 units worldwide by the time its fiscal year ends Sept. 2 as 12 new warehouses are slated to open worldwide during the next six months.