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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports Second Quarter and Year-to-Date Operating Results for Fiscal Year 2010, and February Sales Results; Conference Call Scheduled for 7:00AM (PT)

ISSAQUAH, WA, Mar 03, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Costco Wholesale Corporation ("Costco" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: COST) announced today its operating results for the second quarter (twelve weeks) and first half (24 weeks) of fiscal 2010, both ended February 14, 2010, and its February sales results for the four weeks ended February 28, 2010.

Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2010 increased eleven percent, to $18.36 billion, from $16.49 billion during the second quarter of fiscal 2009. Net sales for the first half of fiscal 2010 increased eight percent, to $35.28 billion, from $32.52 billion during the first half of fiscal 2009.

Comparable sales for the second quarter (12 weeks) and first half (24 weeks) of fiscal 2010 were as follows:

                                     12 Weeks   24 Weeks
                                     ---------  ---------
U.S.                                         5%         3%
International                               26%        19%
Total                                        9%         6%
                                     =========  =========

Comparable sales for the 12-week and 24-week periods, excluding the positive impacts from gasoline inflation and the strengthening of foreign currencies (primarily in Canada, the United Kingdom and Korea), were as follows:

                                     12 Weeks   24 Weeks
                                     ---------  ---------
U.S.                                         2%         2%
International                               10%         9%
Total                                        3%         3%
                                     =========  =========

Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2010 was $299 million, or $.67 per diluted share, compared to $239 million, or $.55 per diluted share, during the second quarter of fiscal 2009. Net income for the first half of fiscal 2010 was $565 million, or $1.27 per diluted share, compared to net income for the first half of fiscal 2009 of $502 million or $1.14 per diluted share. The Company recorded a $22 million pre-tax charge ($0.03 per diluted share) related to a change in employee benefits in the second quarter of fiscal 2010 whereby certain unused time off will now be paid annually to the employee.

The Company today also reported net sales of $5.61 billion for the four weeks ended February 28, 2010, an increase of eleven percent from $5.06 billion in the same four-week period of the prior fiscal year. For the six-month retail reporting period of September through February, the twenty-six weeks ended February 28, 2010, which includes the first two weeks of the Company's fiscal third quarter, the Company reported net sales of $38.06 billion, an increase of eight percent from $35.08 billion during the comparable period of the prior fiscal year.

Comparable sales for the 4-week retail-reporting month of February and the 26-week retail-reporting period of September through February were as follows:

                                      4 Weeks   26 Weeks
                                     ---------  ---------
U.S.                                         5%         3%
International                               26%        19%
Total                                        9%         6%
                                     =========  =========

Comparable sales for the 4-week and 26-week periods, excluding the positive impacts from gasoline inflation and strengthening of foreign currencies (primarily in Canada, the United Kingdom and Korea), were as follows:

                                       4 Weeks   26 Weeks
                                      ---------  ---------
U.S.                                          2%         2%
International                                10%         9%
Total                                         4%         3%
                                      =========  =========

Costco currently operates 566 warehouses, including 413 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 77 in Canada, 21 in the United Kingdom, seven in Korea, six in Taiwan, nine 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 an additional seven to eight new warehouses prior to the end of its 2010 fiscal year on August 29, 2010.

A conference call to discuss these second quarter operating results and February sales is scheduled for 7:00 a.m. (PT) today, March 3, 2010, and is available via a webcast on www.costco.com (click on Investor Relations and "Play Webcast").

Certain statements contained in this document 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), 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.

                        COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
                CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
                (dollars in millions, except per share data)
                              (unaudited)
                             12 Weeks Ended            24 Weeks Ended
                        ------------------------  ------------------------
                          February     February     February     February
                          14, 2010     15, 2009     14, 2010     15, 2009
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
REVENUE
  Net sales             $    18,356  $    16,488  $    35,278  $    32,524
  Membership fees               386          355          763          714
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
    Total revenue            18,742       16,843       36,041       33,238
OPERATING EXPENSES
  Merchandise costs          16,396       14,771       31,477       29,047
  Selling, general and
   administrative             1,873        1,666        3,650        3,343
  Preopening expenses             3            7           14           20
  Provision for
   impaired assets and
   closing costs, net             -            1            2            8
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
    Operating income            470          398          898          820
OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)
  Interest expense              (26)         (25)         (50)         (50)
  Interest income and
   other, net                    30           12           48           33
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
INCOME BEFORE INCOME
 TAXES                          474          385          896          803
  Provision for income
   taxes                        169          142          321          294
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
Net income including
 noncontrolling
 interests                      305          243          575          509
Net income attributable
 to noncontrolling
 interests                       (6)          (4)         (10)          (7)
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE
 TO COSTCO              $       299  $       239  $       565  $       502
                        ===========  ===========  ===========  ===========
NET INCOME PER COMMON
 SHARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO
 COSTCO:
  Basic                 $      0.68  $      0.55  $      1.29  $      1.16
                        ===========  ===========  ===========  ===========
  Diluted               $      0.67  $      0.55  $      1.27  $      1.14
                        ===========  ===========  ===========  ===========
Shares used in
 calculation (000's)
  Basic                     439,786      433,476      438,475      432,963
  Diluted                   446,918      439,688      445,870      440,095
Dividends per share     $      0.18  $      0.16  $      0.36  $      0.32
                         COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
                     CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                             (dollars in millions)
                                  (unaudited)
Subject to Reclassifications
                                              February 14,     August 30,
                                                 2010            2009
                                            --------------- ---------------
                 ASSETS
Cash and cash equivalents                   $         4,134 $         3,157
Short-term investments                                  585             570
Receivables, net                                        951             834
Merchandise inventories                               5,365           5,405
Deferred income taxes and other current
 assets                                                 466             371
                                            --------------- ---------------
  Total current assets                               11,501          10,337
Property and equipment, net                          11,105          10,900
Other assets                                            760             742
                                            --------------- ---------------
TOTAL ASSETS                                $        23,366 $        21,979
                                            =============== ===============
         LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
Accounts payable                            $         5,598 $         5,450
Short-term borrowings and current portion
 of long-term debt                                       91              96
Other current liabilities                             4,176           3,735
                                            --------------- ---------------
  Total current liabilities                           9,865           9,281
Long-term debt, excluding current portion             2,134           2,130
Deferred income taxes and other liabilities             624             464
                                            --------------- ---------------
  Total liabilities                                  12,623          11,875
                                            --------------- ---------------
Total Costco stockholders' equity                    10,651          10,024
Noncontrolling interests                                 92              80
                                            --------------- ---------------
  Total equity                                       10,743          10,104
                                            --------------- ---------------
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY                $        23,366 $        21,979
                                            =============== ===============

CONTACTS:

Costco Wholesale Corporation
Richard Galanti
425/313-8203


Bob Nelson
425/313-8255

Jeff Elliott
425/313-8264

SOURCE: Costco