Earnings News Nuggets

Issaquah, Wash., Costco profits for the third-quarter rose 6% to $209.8 million, or 43? per share, from $198.7 million, or 42? a share, in the year-ago period. Sales, which include membership fees for the wholesale club, totaled $12 billion, up from $10.9 billion a year earlier. Comp-store sales increased 7% for the three months May 8.

• Fred’s Inc. posted a 7% decline in profits for the first quarter, to $6.7 million, or 17? per share, compared with $7.2 million, or 18? a share, in the year-ago period. Net sales for the discount retailer were $382.7 million, a 12% increase over $341.5 million a year earlier. Comps rose 3% for the quarter.

• Dollar General Corp. said that first-quarter profits fell to $64.9 million, or 20? a share, compared with $67.8 million, or 20? per share, a year earlier. As reported earlier this month, sales for the quarter ended April 29 rose 13.2% to $1.98 billion, and comp-store sales rose 4.9%. Discount retailers have been hit especially hard by rising gas prices that leave low-income shoppers with less disposable income.