ISSAQUAH — Warehouse retail chain Costco Wholesale said its fiscal second-quarter profit rose slightly from a year earlier, weighed by wage premiums paid to employees during the pandemic.

In the three-month period ended Feb. 14, a quarter during which Costco saw a surge of online shopping, the company said it earned $951 million, or $2.14 per share. That compares with a profit of $931 million, or $2.10 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

But the results were below analysts’ expectations, pushing Costco’s stock down about 2% in after-hours trading. Shares closed Thursday at $319.04, down 1.5%.

The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.42 per share in the latest quarter.

Costco said the premium COVID-19 pay for its employees trimmed its profits by 41 cents per share. CEO Craig Jelinek said last week that it would roll back the extra $2 an hour but at the same time boost its minimum wage to $16 an hour, starting this week.

Costco has been a retailer that has mostly benefited from the pandemic, as stay-at-home Americans stocked up on bulk goods. The company also is seeing a jump in online shopping, notable for the chain mostly known for its mammoth warehouse stores.


E-commerce revenues were up 75% from a year earlier in the quarter that ended Feb. 14.

The warehouse club operator posted total revenue of $44.77 billion in the period, exceeding Wall Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $44.5 billion.

Contributions from The Seattle Times business staff and material from The Seattle Times archives were used in this report.