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Chris Burritt

Costco Wholesale posted a fourth-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates, hurt by higher costs and lower gasoline prices that crimped sales.

The Issaquah company’s net income in the quarter ended Sept. 1 rose to $617_million, or $1.40 a share, from $609 million, or $1.39, a year earlier. Analysts had projected profit of $1.46, the average of 13 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Costco, the largest U.S. warehouse-club chain, joins retailers from Wal-Mart Stores to Macy’s in reporting sales that trailed analysts’ projections for their most recent quarters as U.S. consumers restrain spending.

The profit miss, Costco’s first in eight quarters, came as selling, general and administrative expenses rose faster than some analysts expected and revenue climbed at the slowest pace since 2009. read more »


Home Depot Inc. (HD), the world’s largest home improvement retailer, is accelerating the national rollout of its online handyman referral service Redbeacon to tap demand from homeowners who don’t want to do fix-it projects themselves.

Redbeacon, which connects consumers with painters, plumbers, carpenters and maids, expanded last week through Home Depot to Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana and Alaska. That puts the service in 11 states as the service pushes nationwide over the next two years, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Rodio said in a Sept. 25 interview.

Founded by three former Google Inc. (GOOG) employees five years ago, Redbeacon is Home Depot’s third acquisition since 2012 aimed at selling more home-installation projects. read more »


Claudia Brown, a kitchen and bathroom designer for Home Depot Inc. (HD), is witnessing what she’s rarely seen in the past six years: customers knocking down walls again.

“People aren’t hesitant; they’re getting what they want,” Brown, who works in Greensboro, North Carolina, said earlier this month after selling a kitchen project costing more than $13,000 and a bathroom remodel for $3,700.

Spurred by rising home prices, homeowners who spent the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression taking on only must-do repairs like fixing leaky faucets or minor upgrades like painting are again starting wish-list projects. Those revamps, even in the face of still-tight lending conditions, include additions costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and replacing laminate countertops with marble that’s twice as expensive. read more »

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