Costco sales, profits increase in Q1

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. reported sales of $21.18 billion and profits of $320 million during first quarter 2012, according to an earnings statement.

Those figures, for the 12-week period ended Nov. 20, compared with sales of $18.82 billion and profits of $312 million during the same period last year. The company also recorded a $17 million charge for the donations it made to the campaign in its home state of Washington to privatize liquor sales. The company contributed $22.5 million of the $22.7 million total that went to the campaign for the measure, Initiative 1183, of which $19 million was actually spent, according to published reports.

The warehouse retailer operates 596 stores, including 433 in the United States, and an online portal, Costco Online.