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    Deli, Chilled Help Drive Costco Nov. Same-Store Sales

    ISSAQUAH, Wash. -Costco Wholesale Corp. could have replayed last month's earnings conference call yesterday, as an increase in gasoline prices and strong foreign currency once again drove a 9 percent rise in its same-store sales for the warehouse club retailer, and a higher volume of traffic in its clubs for the four weeks ended December 2. The only new contributing factor last month was a boost in traffic.

    ISSAQUAH, Wash. -Costco Wholesale Corp. could have replayed last month's earnings conference call yesterday, as an increase in gasoline prices and strong foreign currency once again drove a 9 percent rise in its same-store sales for the warehouse club retailer, and a higher volume of traffic in its clubs for the four weeks ended December 2. The only new contributing factor last month was a boost in traffic.

    Costco said its deli, cooler, and HBC categories were among its strongest performers.

    The retailer's sales for the period rose 13 percent to $5.72 billion, from $5.04 billion last year.

    Rising gas prices continue to aid in same store sales growth, as the average price per gallon of gasoline in November was $3.01, up from $2.22 a gallon last year, according to Costco. Without the higher gasoline prices, U.S. same store sales would have risen 4 percent.

    November same-store sales in its international division jumped 21 percent due to strong foreign currency, particularly in Canada and the United Kingdom, while they grew 6 percent in its U.S. stores.

    For the first 13 weeks of its reporting period ended December 2, the retailer's sales were $16.98 billion, an increase of 12 percent from $15.20 billion last year. Same store sales for this period grew 17 percent internationally and 6 percent at home.

    Costco operates 528 warehouses, including 388 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 75 in Canada, 19 in the United Kingdom, five in Korea, five in Taiwan, six in Japan, and 30 in Mexico.

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