Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
ISSAQUAH -- Costco's fiscal first-quarter net income rose 2 percent as sales improved and the wholesale club operator pulled in more money from membership fees.But the Issaquah company's performance missed analysts' estimates. Its stock dropped in premarket trading on Wednesday.For the period ended Nov. 24, Costco Wholesale Corp. earned $425 million, or 96 cents per share. That's up from $416 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier.Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.03 per share, according to a FactSet poll.Revenue increased 6 percent to $25.02 billion from $23.72 billion. Wall Street expected $25.3 billion in revenue.Revenue from membership fees rose to $549 million from $511 million.Sales at stores open at least a year climbed 3 percent. In the U.S, the metric also rose 3 percent. It edged up 1 percent overseas.This figure is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from locations recently opened or closed.Taking out the impact of lower gas prices and foreign currency exchange fluctuations, sales at stores open at least a year increased 5 percent. The metric rose 4 percent in the U.S. and climbed 6 percent abroad.Costco currently runs 648 warehouses, including 461 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, 87 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 25 in the U.K., 18 in Japan, 10 in Taiwan, nine in Korea and five in Australia.The company's stock dropped $5.21, or 4.3 percent, to $114.83 in premarket trading three hours before the market open.