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Costco Wholesale Corporation COST
Q3 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/30/2013

Operator: Good morning. My name is Angela, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I'd like to welcome everyone to the Third Quarter FY '13 Operating Results Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session.

Thank you. Mr. Richard Galanti, CFO, you may begin your conference.

Richard A. Galanti - EVP and CFO: Thank you, Angela. Good morning to everyone. This morning's press release reviews our third quarter operating results for the 12 weeks ended May 12.

As with every call, let me start by stating that the discussions we are having will include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and that these statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual events, results, and/or performance to differ materially from those indicated by such statements. The risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those outlined in today's call as well as other risks identified from time-to-time in the Company's public statements and reports filed with the SEC.

To begin with our 12-week third quarter, for the quarter, earnings per share came in at $1.04 per share, up 18% from last year's third quarter earnings per share of $0.88. For the third quarter, total sales were up 8% and our reported comparable sales figure was up 5%. During the quarter, sales were impacted by both gasoline price deflation and by weakening foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar year-over-year, such that the 6% U.S. comp sales increase in Q3 excluding gas deflation would have been 7%. Our reported 4% international comp figure assuming flat year-over-year FX rates would have been plus 7% and total Company comps again reported for the quarter at 5% excluding both gas deflation and FX impact would have come in at 7% as well for the quarter

In terms of new openings, after opening 14 new locations during the first half of the fiscal year, we opened five additional Costcos in the third quarter, two in Japan in Kitakyushu and Hiroshima and one each in Chihuahua, Mexico, Wheaton, Maryland and Southampton U.K. All told, that puts our fiscal year 2013 openings through the third quarter at 19 new locations, and we now operate 627 Costco warehouses around the world. Between now and September 1, the end of our fiscal year, we expect to open an additional nine locations, three in the U.S., three in Japan and one each in the U.K., Taiwan and Australia. As such, that will most likely end the fiscal year with 28 new openings for the year and that's up notably from 16 net openings in fiscal '12.

Also this morning, I'll review with you our membership trends, our e-commerce activity and of course, additional discussion about margins and SG&A. For our third quarter, again sales were up 8% from $21.85 billion last year in the third quarter to $23.55 billion. Again, comps on a reported basis were plus 5. 5% reported comp sales results were a combination of a flat average transaction for the quarter. Of course that included the detriment for both the FX and gasoline which together represented about 1.5 percentage points and an average shopping frequency increased at about 5.5%. That compares to a fiscal year-to-date shopping frequency number of about 4.5%. So, pretty strong frequency there.

Read our Earnings Call Transcript disclaimer.
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