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April 7, 2011 at 3:01 AM EDT

Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports March Sales Results

ISSAQUAH, WA, Apr 07, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Costco Wholesale Corporation ("Costco" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: COST) today reported net sales of $8.33 billion for the month of March, the five weeks ended April 3, 2011, an increase of 17 percent from $7.15 billion during the similar period last year. This year's five-week period for March included 35 days of sales compared to 34 last year; Easter falls in the reporting month of April this year. This calendar shift positively impacted this year's March total and comparable sales by approximately one to two percent, resulting from the benefit of one additional sales day this year, partially offset by several days of pre-Easter sales strength a year ago. Also, this year's five-week period included sales from the Company's Mexico joint venture, as the Company began consolidating its Mexico operations on a prospective basis beginning with its 2011 fiscal year (on August 30, 2010); without those sales the net sales increase would have been 14 percent.

For the thirty-one weeks of its reporting period ended April 3, 2011, the Company reported net sales of $50.79 billion, an increase of 12 percent from $45.21 billion during the similar period last year; excluding Mexico sales, the increase would have been nine percent.

Comparable sales for the five-week and thirty-one-week periods ended April 3, 2011, including Mexico operations for last year and this year, were as follows:

                                    5 Weeks    31
                                             Weeks
                                    ------- -------

                      U.S.          11%     6%
                      International 17%     14%

                      Total Company 13%     8%
                                    ======= =======

Inflation in gasoline prices and strengthening foreign currencies had a positive impact on comparable sales. Excluding these effects, comparable sales for the five-week and thirty-one-week periods were as follows:

                                    5 Weeks 31 Weeks
                                    ------- --------

                      U.S.          7%      4%
                      International 11%     9%

                      Total Company 8%      5%
                                    ======= ========

Additional discussion of these sales results is available in a pre-recorded telephone message. You can access the recording by dialing 1-800-642-1687 (conference ID 25103110). This message will be available today through 5:00 p.m. (PT) on Friday, April 8, 2011.

Costco currently operates 580 warehouses, including 424 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 80 in Canada, 22 in the United Kingdom, seven in Korea, six in Taiwan, eight in Japan, one in Australia and 32 in Mexico. The Company also operates Costco Online, an electronic commerce web site, at www.costco.com and at www.costco.ca in Canada. The Company plans to open up to fourteen additional new warehouses (including the relocation of a warehouse to a larger and better-located facility and the reopening of San Marcos, CA -- previously closed for an onsite relocation) prior to the end of its 2011 fiscal year on August 28, 2011. The Tamasakai, Japan warehouse, closed for repair of earthquake damage, is expected to reopen before the end of calendar year 2011.

Certain statements contained in this document and the pre-recorded telephone message constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. For these purposes, forward-looking statements are statements that address activities, events, conditions or developments that the Company expects or anticipates may occur in the future. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual events, results or performance to differ materially from those indicated by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, domestic and international economic conditions, including exchange rates, the effects of competition and regulation, uncertainties in the financial markets, consumer and small business spending patterns and debt levels, conditions affecting the acquisition, development, ownership or use of real estate, actions of vendors, rising costs associated with employees (including health care costs), energy, and certain commodities, geopolitical conditions and other risks identified from time to time in the Company's public statements and reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONTACTS:
Costco Wholesale Corporation
Richard Galanti
425/313-8203
David Sherwood
425/313-8239


SOURCE: Costco