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    Increased Visits and Spending Make up for Shorter March at Costco

    ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- Even with one less selling day in March, Costco Wholesale Corp. still saw an increase in traffic to its stores compared to last year.

    ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- Even with one less selling day in March, Costco Wholesale Corp. still saw an increase in traffic to its stores compared to last year.

    What's more, the increased traffic - up more than 1 percent - is of shoppers spending more money; average transactions at the membership club retailer were up 5 percent for the month compared to last year.

    Costco's March net sales, which include the five weeks ended April 8, 2007, were $5.94 billion, an increase of 11 percent from last year's $5.37 billion.

    For the first thirty-two weeks of the reporting period ended April 8, Costco reported net sales of $38.11 billion, an increase of 9 percent from last year's $35.02 billion. These year-to-date net sales results include the $224 million adjustment to the sales returns reserve reported in the fiscal Q2 results.

    Comparable sales for March increased 5 percent for U.S. stores and 7 percent for international locations; for the 32-week reporting period, U.S. comps increased 4 percent and International jumped 8 percent.

    Costco noted that this year's five-week period included 34 days of sales compared to 35 days last year, reflecting the timing of Easter, a shift that negatively impacted sales by approximately one to two percent. However, the retailer expects to gain this back in April, during which it will have one extra selling day.

    Costco operates 508 warehouses, including 374 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 71 in Canada, 19 in the United Kingdom, five in Korea, four in Taiwan, five in Japan, and 30 in Mexico. It plans to open an additional 10 to 11 new warehouses prior to the end of its 52-week 2007 fiscal year on September 2, 2007.

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