Costco Wholesale profit rises

Markets Reuters

(Reuters) - Costco Wholesale Corp posted a 16 percent jump in quarterly profit, boosted by strong sales during the holiday season and higher gasoline prices.

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The top U.S. warehouse club operator also said net sales rose 14 percent in February.

Costco and smaller competitors -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc's

Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club Inc -- have benefited from shoppers looking for bargains.

Costco, which sells bulk packages of everything from blackberries to paper plates, earned $348 million, or 79 cents per share, in its fiscal second quarter, compared with $299 million, or 67 cents per share, a year earlier.

Overall quarterly sales rose 11 percent to $20.45 billion, excluding membership fees. Those fees rose about 10 percent to $426 million. Second quarter same-store sales rose 7 percent, including fuel.

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(Reporting by Jessica Wohl in New York and Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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