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Costco sales drop 6% due to weaker demand

COSTCO Wholesale Corp yesterday reported an in-line 6 percent fall in sales, hit by a slide in demand for higher ticket items such as cameras and cell phones during the recession.

Analysts were expecting same-store sales at stores open at least a year in June to fall 6 percent on average, according to Thomson Reuters.

Same-store sales at its United States locations decreased 6 percent, while international division sales fell 3 percent.

Excluding the negative impact from gasoline price deflation, it said US comparable sales would have been down 1 percent, while on a local currency basis it said international same-store sales increased 8 percent.

Customers pay an annual fee to shop at Costco's warehouses, which sell everything from laptop computers and bulk-sized packages of toilet paper to fresh fruit.

Many also operate gas stations.

"Comparable sales results for June in merchandizing are very similar for all of our categories compared to our mostly recently reported month - with stronger sales results in foods, sundries, fresh foods, and slightly softer sales results in the non-food more discretionary categories," Bob Nelson, vice president of financial planning and investor relations, said in a telephone message.


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