Costco Wholesale Corporation announced its operating results for the second quarter (twelve weeks) and first half (24 weeks) of fiscal 2014, ended February 16, 2014. Net sales for the quarter increased six percent, to $25.76 billion, from $24.34 billion last year. Net sales for the first half increased six percent, to $50.22 billion, from $47.55 billion last year.
Net income for the quarter was $463 million, or $1.05 per diluted share, compared to $547 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, last year. Net income for the first half was $888 million, or $2.01 per diluted share, compared to $963 million, or $2.19 per diluted share, last year.
According to Richard Galanti, Chief Financial Officer of Costco, "Last year's net income was positively impacted by a $62 million ($0.14 per diluted share) tax benefit in connection with the portion of the special cash dividend paid by the Company in December 2012 to the Company 401(k) plan participants. Even with that distinction, however, the year-over-year comparison was unfavorable.
Despite satisfactory sales results during the second fiscal quarter, several other factors led to lower earnings. These factors included: weaker sales and gross margin results in certain non-foods merchandise categories, particularly during the four-week holiday selling season; weaker gross margins in our fresh foods business; and lower reported international profits, resulting from the significant weakening of foreign exchange rates. The first four-week period of the quarter represented the majority of earnings underperformance in the quarter."
For the four-week reporting month of February ended March 2, 2014, the Company reported net sales of $7.90 billion, an increase of four percent from $7.58 billion during the similar four-week period last year. For the twenty-six week year-to-date period ended March 2, 2014, net sales were $54.22 billion, an increase of six percent from $51.35 billion during the similar twenty-six week period last year.