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Fitch gives Costco a positive outlook

Jan. 26, 2005 at 12:55 PM

NEW YORK, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Fitch Ratings of New York Wednesday revised the rating outlook on Costco Wholesale Corp. of Issaquah, Wash., to positive from stable.

Fitch said the positive outlook reflects Costco's well-executed operating strategy and disciplined financial management, which have resulted in strong same-store sales growth and credit "metrics," including increased cash flow generation.

Approximately $1.2 billion of debt is affected.

"Further improvement in credit metrics is anticipated as the company repays maturing debt with available cash, which totaled $3.2 billion at Nov. 21, 2004," Fitch said.

The ratings continue to reflect the ongoing acceptance of Costco's club format, as well as the competitive intensity within the club warehouse and general retail sectors, and the risk associated with losing the value perception with consumers, the rating agency added.

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