March 5, 2015 / 8:24 AM / 2 years ago

Costco's quarterly profit tops estimates on tax benefit

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Shoppers wait to pay in Costco in Fairfax, Virginia, January 7, 2010.Larry Downing

(Reuters) - Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a tax benefit related to its special cash dividend last month.

Costco, the third-largest U.S. retailer, said net income rose to $598 million, or $1.35 per share, for the second quarter ended Feb. 15, from $463 million, or $1.05 per share a year earlier.

Total revenue, which includes membership fees, rose 4.4 percent in the quarter to 27.45 billion. Sales rose 4.3 percent $26.87 billion.

Analysts on average expected a profit of $1.18 per share on sales of $27.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Costco, which sells food and general merchandise in bulk and gets most of its profit from annual membership fees, said comparable sales at outlets open more than one year grew 8 percent in the second quarter, excluding fuel.

Analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix had expected same-store sales to increase 6.4 percent.

February comparable sales rose 1 percent, in line with analysts' expectations of 0.9 percent.

The results include a tax benefit of $57 million, or 13 cents per share, in connection with the special cash, Costco said.

Reporting by Nathan Layne and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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