Costco Wholesale, the Issaquah-based retailer, reported quarterly profit that fell short of estimates, and U.S. sales, while still brisk, also slightly missed.
Same-store U.S. sales excluding gas rose 5.2% in the quarter, falling just short of analysts’ projections compiled by Consensus Metrix. Earnings per share were $2.47, below the average estimate of $2.54.
Costco already reported sales for most of the quarter, so investors were also watching metrics like membership fee growth and member renewal rates. Revenue from membership fees rose in the quarter — and that’s a positive sign for the retailer since those annual dues generate a bulk of Costco’s profit.
The retailer’s treasure hunt store experience is hard for other retailers to match, but it’s still in the early innings of its e-commerce expansion. Online sales rose 21.9% in the latest quarter at Costco.