Costco’s Q4 Profits Climb 27 Percent

Costco Inc. reported earnings rose 26.6 percent in the fourth quarter ended August 30 as sales grew 12.5 percent.

Net income for the fourth quarter was $1.389 billion, or $3.13 per diluted share, compared to $1.097 billion, or $2.47 per diluted share, last year. This year’s fourth quarter was negatively impacted by incremental expense related to COVID-19 premium wages and sanitation costs of $281 million pretax (47 cents per diluted share) and a $36 million pretax charge (6 cents per diluted share) related to the prepayment of $1.5 billion of debt. These items were partially offset by an $84 million pretax benefit (15 cents per diluted share) for the partial reversal of a reserve of $123 million pretax (22 cents per diluted share), related to a product tax assessment taken in the fourth quarter of last year.

Net sales for the quarter increased 12.5 percent, to $52.28 billion from $46.45 billion last year.

Same-store sales grew 11.4 percent. Same-store sales grew 11.0 percent in the U.S., 9.1 percent in Canada and 16.1 percent in Other International. E-commerce grew 90.6 percent.

Excluding the impacts from changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange, comps grew 14.1 percent. Same-store sales on that basis grew 13.6 percent in the U.S., 12.6 percent in Canada and 18.8 percent in Other International. E-commerce grew 91.3 percent.

Net income for the fiscal year was $4.00 billion, or $9.02 per diluted share, compared to $3.66 billion, or $8.26 per diluted share in the prior year. Net sales for the fiscal year increased 9.3 percent, to $163.22 billion from $149.35 billion last year. Comps grew 7.7 percent or 9.2 percent excluding the impacts from changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange.

Costco currently operates 795 warehouses, including 552 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 101 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 27 in Japan, 16 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, 12 in Australia, three in Spain, and one each in Iceland, France, and China.

Photo courtesy Costco

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