Lower demand for non-food items and foreign exchange have weighed on Costco’s third-quarter figures, the US wholesaler said today (28 May).

Costco said its net sales in the three months to 10 May fell 5% to US$15.48bn, with comparable sales down 7%.

The company’s US comparable sales fell 5% when including the impact of falling fuel prices. Stripping out that deflation, Costco’s US comparable sales were flat.

The group’s international sales dropped 12% on a reported basis but were up 8% when currency fluctuations were removed fro the numbers.

Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was US$209.6m, or $.48 per diluted share, compared to UYS$295.1m, or $.67 per diluted share, during the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

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CFO Richard Galanti said the “ongoing weakness in sales, particularly sales of higher-ticket, discretionary items” had been one of the factors for the fall in sales and earnings.