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Costco: Will new customers’ spending counter existing customers’ belt-tightening

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on May 27, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
May 27, 2009 3:39 pm

Issaquah-based Costco will report third quarter earnings Thursday, but analysts are unsure whether the wholesale warehouse company’s results will benefit from the recession.

Costco, on one hand, has seen shoppers migrating from other stores in search of lower prices, but even its affluent customers are being conservative with their outlays.

The company’s gross sales are also expected to decline because of lower gas prices than at this time last year. Costco sells gas at most of its stores.

The average of analysts’ predictions is that the company will report a profit of 53 cents a share. That compares with 67 cents a share in the third quarter a year ago.

Some analysts say Costco is well-positioned to take advantage of a recovery as well-heeled customers loosen up their spending.

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