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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 29, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Costco’s profit drop

Shortsighted decisions would perpetuate problems

Wall Street is unhappy with Costco [“Wall St. slams Costco’s results,” Business, May 29]. To quote David Schick, retail analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, “Some retailers cut employees radically to make better [profit] numbers. Costco doesn’t think of things that way. Their metronome is set to the year and decade, when others are set to the week and month and quarter.”

Isn’t the thinking of “the week and month and quarter” the sort of short-term Wall Street thinking that got us into this mess? There was a time when short-term gain was not seen as the Holy Grail and when employees mattered. So Costco is bucking the trend by thinking long term and caring about their employees, and Wall Street throws a fit? And that opinion, from Wall Street, causes the stock to tumble. What is wrong with this picture, and haven’t we learned anything?

If short-term thinking — which will lay more people off and help perpetuate the problems we are facing as a nation — is the mantra that Wall Street will continue to preach then I fear for our future as a nation. We are riddled with debt from such short-term thinking, from the Holy Grail of huge profit margins always being attainable.

I am a Costco stockholder and member. I think I prefer to march to Costco’s metronome.

— Cathy Aldrich, Shoreline

$210 million profit nothing to complain about

Let me see if I understand: Costco made a profit of $210 million. Will someone please, given the state of the economy today, explain to me what the problem is?

They didn’t lose money. They didn’t close a bunch of stores. They didn’t lay anyone off. They didn’t raise their prices much so they’ve kept most of their customers. They still manage to make a good profit.

Shut up, buy a few shares of Exxon and get a grip!

— Margaret S.F. Gibson, Monroe

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