ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Food, particularly fresh food, is clearly driving the business at Costco Wholesale Corp. here, Richard Galanti, the chain’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said yesterday during a conference call to discuss financial results for the first quarter.
Food and sundries, which account for half of Costco’s business, saw comparable-store sales rise in the high single digits during the quarter, which ended Nov. 23, Galanti said, with dry groceries showing comps in the mid-teens and fresh food close to double-digit gains.
With general merchandise categories weakening, “we brought produce prices down to drive more traffic,” Galanti added — a move that has worked out well, he noted, with produce comps in the double digits.
Net income for the 12-week quarter rose 0.2% to $262.5 million, while revenues, including membership fees, jumped 3.7% to $16.4 billion. Overall company comps increased 1%, with U.S. comps up 3% and international comps down 7%. However, expressed in local currencies, total comps were up 4%, Galanti pointed out, with the U.S. up 3% and international up 7%.
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