By Maria Armental 
 

Costco Wholesale Corp.'s sales rose 12% for the five weeks ended Jan. 3.

Shares closed at $370.02, down $1.5% for the day, and recently traded at $370.40 in after-hours trading.

Costco reported $19.14 billion in net sales for the five-week period. Comparable sales, a closely watched performance metric that looks at sales at warehouse-club locations open for more than a year, rose 10.7%. Excluding the impact from gasoline sales and currency swings, core comparable sales rose 10.9%.

Analysts surveyed by Consensus Metrix expected a 10.1% increase, or 11.2% when adjusted for gas sales and currency swings.

Costco, one of the companies whose services were deemed essential and remained open during the coronavirus pandemic, has largely fared well financially during the pandemic, offering one-stop shopping for such things as food and appliances. In December, it paid a special cash dividend of $10 a share--the first special dividend since 2017.

Costco ended the first quarter on Nov. 22 with $13.59 billion in cash.

"Someone asked the question after we announced the $10 dividend, we could have done more," Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said in a conference call to discuss the first-quarter results. "The answer is we could have but why rush?"

"We still don't know what's going to happen with COVID and what may happen next year in the economy," Mr. Galanti said.

Costco currently operates 803 warehouses, including 558 in the United States and Puerto Rico.

 

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 06, 2021 16:40 ET (21:40 GMT)

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