Costco Wholesale Corp. increased revenue despite going against a tough comparison with the year before, but not as much as analysts expected, according to a Thursday afternoon earnings report. The retailer reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of $844 million, or $1.90 a share, on sales of $36.24 billion, up from profit of $1.73 a share on revenue of $34.31 billion a year ago. That growth came despite a later Thanksgiving holiday this year, which pushed early holiday sales to the next quarter - Costco said that the later holiday shaved a half-percent off its sales this year, and 12 percentage points off e-commerce sales. Analysts on average expected Costco to report earnings of $1.73 a share on sales of $39.9 billion, according to FactSet. Costco shares dipped about 0.6% in after-hours trading immediately following release of the results. The stock closed Thursday's session up 0.7% at $297.34, and has gained 46% so far this year, as the S&P 500 index has gained 25.3%.
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