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Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports First Quarter Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Results

ISSAQUAH, WA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/12/12 -- Costco Wholesale Corporation ("Costco" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: COST) announced today its operating results for the first quarter (twelve weeks) of fiscal 2013, ended November 25, 2012.

Net sales for the quarter increased ten percent, to $23.20 billion from $21.18 billion during the first quarter last year. Comparable sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were as follows:

                                         12 Weeks

                           U.S.             7%
                           International    9%

                           Total Company    7%

Inflation in gasoline prices and strengthening foreign currencies had a positive impact on comparable sales. Excluding these effects, comparable sales were as follows:

                                         12 Weeks

                           U.S.             6%
                           International    7%

                           Total Company    6%

Net income for the quarter was $416 million, or $.95 per diluted share, compared to $320 million, or $.73 per diluted share, last year. Last year's net income was negatively impacted by a $12 million charge (or $.03 per diluted share) related to settlement of an income tax audit of the Company's Mexico operation, and a $17 million charge (or $.04 per diluted share) related to contributions to an initiative reforming alcoholic beverage laws in Washington State.

Costco currently operates 621 warehouses, including 448 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 23 in the United Kingdom, 13 in Japan, nine in Taiwan, eight in Korea, and three in Australia. The Company plans to open one additional new warehouse (Gwangmyeong, Korea) before the end of calendar year 2012. The Company also operates Costco Online, electronic commerce web sites, at www.costco.com (U.S.), www.costco.ca (CN), and www.costco.co.uk (United Kingdom).

A conference call to discuss these fiscal 2013 first quarter operating results is scheduled for 7:00 a.m. (PT) today, December 12, 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, consumer and small business spending patterns and debt levels, conditions affecting the acquisition, development, ownership or use of real estate, actions of vendors, 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
                (dollars in millions, except per share data)

                                                       12 Weeks Ended
                                                 November 25,  November 20,
                                                     2012          2011
                                                 ------------  ------------
  Net sales                                      $     23,204  $     21,181
  Membership fees                                         511           447
                                                 ------------  ------------
    Total revenue                                      23,715        21,628
  Merchandise costs                                    20,726        18,931
  Selling, general and administrative                   2,332         2,144
  Preopening expenses                                      18            10
                                                 ------------  ------------
    Operating income                                      639           543
  Interest expense                                        (13)          (27)
  Interest income and other, net                           20            37
                                                 ------------  ------------
INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES                                646           553
  Provision for income taxes                              225           225
                                                 ------------  ------------
Net income including noncontrolling interests             421           328
Net income attributable to noncontrolling
 interests                                                 (5)           (8)
                                                 ------------  ------------
NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO COSTCO                $        416  $        320
                                                 ============  ============

  Basic                                          $       0.96  $       0.74
                                                 ============  ============
  Diluted                                        $       0.95  $       0.73
                                                 ============  ============

Shares used in calculation (000's)
  Basic                                               433,423       434,222
  Diluted                                             438,643       440,615

CASH DIVIDENDS DECLARED PER COMMON SHARE         $      0.275  $      0.240

                        COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
                            (dollars in millions)

Subject to Reclassifications

                                                  November 25,  September 2,
                                                      2012          2012
                                                 ------------- -------------
Cash and cash equivalents                        $       3,897 $       3,528
Short-term investments                                   1,679         1,326
Receivables, net                                         1,175         1,026
Merchandise inventories                                  8,152         7,096
Deferred income taxes and other current assets             502           550
                                                 ------------- -------------
  Total current assets                                  15,405        13,526
Property and equipment, net                             13,251        12,961
Other assets                                               667           653
                                                 ------------- -------------
TOTAL ASSETS                                     $      29,323 $      27,140
                                                 ============= =============

Accounts payable                                 $       8,825 $       7,303
Accrued salaries and benefits                            1,945         1,832
Other current liabilities                                2,196         2,024
Deferred membership fees                                 1,169         1,101
                                                 ------------- -------------
  Total current liabilities                             14,135        12,260
Long-term debt, excluding current portion                1,366         1,381
Deferred income taxes and other liabilities                990           981
                                                 ------------- -------------
  Total liabilities                                     16,491        14,622
                                                 ------------- -------------
Total Costco stockholders' equity                       12,665        12,361
Noncontrolling interests                                   167           157
                                                 ------------- -------------
  Total equity                                          12,832        12,518
                                                 ------------- -------------
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY                     $      29,323 $      27,140
                                                 ============= =============

Costco Wholesale Corporation
Richard Galanti
Bob Nelson
Jeff Elliott

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