Costco Wholesale profit rises

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

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.

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