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Costco announces Feb sales results

Mar '07
Costco Wholesale Corporation announced its operating results for the second quarter (12 weeks) and first half (24 weeks) of fiscal 2007, both ended February 18, 2007, and its February sales results.

Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2007 increased to $14.80 billion from $13.79 billion during the second quarter of fiscal 2006. In connection with recent changes to our consumer electronics returns policy, we undertook a more detailed analysis of our returns than we had performed historically.

Although the operational data is still preliminary and being refined, the information indicated a longer timeframe over which returns are received and a lower realization rate on returned items than were previously estimated.

Accordingly, as part of our quarterly analysis of our estimated reserve for sales returns, we increased by $224.4 million the sales reserve balance and took a charge to income for the quarter amounting to approximately $48.1 million ($30.4 million after tax). Excluding the sales reserve increase, net sales for the second quarter were $15.03 billion, representing a 9% increase over the prior year.

Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2007 was $249.5 million, or $.54 per diluted share, compared to $296.2 million, or $.62 per diluted share, during the second quarter of fiscal 2006.

Included in this year's second quarter results are three non-recurring items:
(i) the $48.1 million pre-tax charge reflecting the reduced gross margin on the revised sales return reserve (discussed above);

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