Costco shares stumble as earnings come up short

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Retailer Costco saw its share price slashed in extended trading on Thursday after its latest quarterly results fell short of expectations, even as the company said it will raise its membership fees.

The company — which peddles a range of merchandise, from toilet paper and food to appliances and jewelry, with a focus on bulk sales — said that for the three-month period ending February 12, net sales rose 6 per cent from a year ago to $29.1bn, falling shy of the $29.9bn that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected.

Net income during the time was $515m, or $1.17 per diluted share, versus expectations of $596.9m, or $1.35 a share. Comparable sales, a key industry metric, were up 3 per cent overall, less than the 3.7 per cent that was expected.

As some analysts had anticipated, Costco is also moving to raise the fees it charges to shop in its member-only warehouses. Standard individual memberships will increase by $5 to $60 annually, while executive memberships will rise from $110 to $120.

Costco shares fell 4.6 per cent in after-hours trading. Over the past 12 months, its shares have risen 16.5 per cent

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