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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports Third Quarter and Year-to-Date Operating Results for Fiscal Year 2012

ISSAQUAH, WA, May 24, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --Costco Wholesale Corporation ("Costco" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: COST) announced today its operating results for the third quarter (twelve weeks) and first thirty-six weeks of fiscal 2012, both ended May 6, 2012.

Net sales for the quarter increased eight percent, to $21.85 billion, from $20.19 billion last year. Net sales for the first thirty-six weeks increased ten percent, to $65.54 billion, from $59.46 billion last year.

Comparable sales were as follows:

                                         12 Weeks  36 Weeks
                                         --------  --------
                U.S.                        5%        7%
                International               5%        8%

                Total                       5%        8%
                                         ========  ========

Inflation in gasoline prices had a positive impact on comparable sales, particularly for the thirty-six-week period; foreign currencies had a negative impact for both periods. Excluding these effects, comparable sales were as follows:

                                         12 Weeks  36 Weeks
                                         --------  --------
                U.S.                        4%        6%
                International               8%        9%

                Total                       5%        7%
                                         ========  ========

Net income for the quarter was $386 million, or $.88 per diluted share, compared to $324 million, or $.73 per diluted share, last year. Net income for the first thirty-six weeks was $1.100 billion, or $2.50 per diluted share, compared to $984 million, or $2.22 per diluted share, last year. The quarter this year included a $6.5 million pre-tax LIFO charge ($.01 per diluted share) compared to a $49 million pre-tax LIFO charge ($.07 per diluted share) last year.

Costco currently operates 602 warehouses, including 435 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 82 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 22 in the United Kingdom, 13 in Japan, eight in Taiwan, seven in Korea and three in Australia. The Company also operates Costco Online, an electronic commerce web site, at www.costco.com and at www.costco.ca in Canada. The Company plans to open up to an additional six new warehouses prior to the end of its fiscal year on September 2, 2012.

A conference call to discuss these third quarter operating results is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. (PT) today, May 24, 2012, and is available via a webcast on www.costco.com (click on Investor Relations and "Play Webcast").

Certain statements contained in this document constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. For these purposes, forward-looking statements are statements that address activities, events, conditions or developments that the Company expects or anticipates may occur in the future. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual events, results or performance to differ materially from those indicated by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, domestic and international economic conditions, including exchange rates, the effects of competition and regulation, uncertainties in the financial markets, and consumer and small business spending patterns and debt levels, conditions affecting the acquisition, development, ownership or use of real estate, actions of suppliers, rising costs associated with employees (including health care costs), energy and certain commodities, geopolitical conditions, and other risks identified from time to time in the Company's public statements and reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


                        COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
                CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
                (dollars in millions, except per share data)
                                (unaudited)


                                       12 Weeks Ended      36 Weeks Ended
                                     ------------------  ------------------
                                       May 6,    May 8,    May 6,    May 8,
                                        2012      2011      2012      2011
                                     --------  --------  --------  --------

REVENUE
  Net sales                          $ 21,849  $ 20,188  $ 65,538  $ 59,460
  Membership fees                         475       435     1,381     1,277
                                     --------  --------  --------  --------
    Total revenue                      22,324    20,623    66,919    60,737
OPERATING EXPENSES
  Merchandise costs                    19,543    18,067    58,613    53,059
  Selling, general and
   administrative                       2,151     1,991     6,472     5,970
  Preopening expenses                       6         8        22        24
  Provision for impaired assets,
   closing costs and other, net             1         1         2         7
                                     --------  --------  --------  --------
    Operating income                      623       556     1,810     1,677
OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)
  Interest expense                        (19)      (27)      (73)      (80)
  Interest income and other, net           18         5        65        14
                                     --------  --------  --------  --------
INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES                622       534     1,802     1,611
  Provision for income taxes              217       193       657       569
                                     --------  --------  --------  --------
  Net income including
   noncontrolling interests               405       341     1,145     1,042
  Net income attributable to
   noncontrolling interests               (19)      (17)      (45)      (58)
                                     --------  --------  --------  --------
NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO COSTCO    $    386  $    324  $  1,100  $    984
                                     ========  ========  ========  ========

NET INCOME PER COMMON SHARE
 ATTRIBUTABLE TO COSTCO:
  Basic                              $   0.89  $   0.74  $   2.53  $   2.26
                                     ========  ========  ========  ========
  Diluted                            $   0.88  $   0.73  $   2.50  $   2.22
                                     ========  ========  ========  ========

  Shares used in calculation (000's)
    Basic                             433,791   436,977   434,180   435,913
    Diluted                           439,166   443,570   439,748   442,727



                        COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
                   CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                           (dollars in millions)
                                (unaudited)
Subject to Reclassifications


                                                      May 6,     August 28,
                                                       2012         2011
                                                    ----------  -----------
                      ASSETS
CURRENT ASSETS
  Cash and cash equivalents                        $     4,791  $     4,009
  Short-term investments                                 1,185        1,604
  Receivables, net                                       1,018          965
  Merchandise inventories                                7,044        6,638
  Deferred income taxes and other current assets           553          490
                                                   -----------  -----------
    Total current assets                                14,591       13,706
                                                   -----------  -----------
PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT
  Land                                                   3,950        3,819
  Buildings and improvements                            10,639       10,278
  Equipment and fixtures                                 4,206        4,002
  Construction in progress                                 244          269
                                                   -----------  -----------
                                                        19,039       18,368
  Less accumulated depreciation and amortization        (6,443)      (5,936)
                                                   -----------  -----------
    Net property and equipment                          12,596       12,432
                                                   -----------  -----------
OTHER ASSETS                                               649          623
                                                   -----------  -----------
  TOTAL ASSETS                                     $    27,836  $    26,761
                                                   ===========  ===========
              LIABILITIES AND EQUITY

CURRENT LIABILITIES
  Accounts payable                                 $     7,302  $     6,544
  Current portion of long-term debt                          0          900
  Accrued salaries and benefits                          1,765        1,758
  Accrued sales and other taxes                            378          335
  Other current liabilities                              1,799        1,540
  Deferred membership fees                               1,122          973
                                                   -----------  -----------
    Total current liabilities                           12,366       12,050
LONG-TERM DEBT, excluding current portion                1,373        1,253
DEFERRED INCOME TAXES AND OTHER LIABILITIES                914          885
                                                   -----------  -----------
    Total liabilities                                   14,653       14,188
                                                   -----------  -----------

COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
EQUITY
  Preferred stock $.005 par value; 100,000,000
   shares authorized; no shares issued and
   outstanding                                               0            0
  Common stock $.005 par value; 900,000,000 shares
   authorized; 433,243,000 and 434,266,000 shares
   issued and outstanding                                    2            2
  Additional paid-in capital                             4,653        4,516
  Accumulated other comprehensive income                   319          373
  Retained earnings                                      7,611        7,111
                                                   -----------  -----------
    Total Costco stockholders' equity                   12,585       12,002
  Noncontrolling interests                                 598          571
                                                   -----------  -----------
    Total equity                                        13,183       12,573
                                                   -----------  -----------
    TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY                   $    27,836  $    26,761
                                                   ===========  ===========

CONTACTS:

Costco Wholesale Corporation

Richard Galanti
425/313-8203

Bob Nelson
425/313-8255

Jeff Elliott
425/313-8264


SOURCE: Costco

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