April 10 (Reuters) - Costco Wholesale Corp said March same-store sales increased 5 percent, helped by an extra day in the period and a shift in the timing of Easter.
Analysts had expected a 3.5 percent rise in Costco's same-store sales, including fuel sales, for the five weeks ended April 6, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
Easter falls on April 20 this year, while it was on March 31 last year.
"This calendar shift positively impacted this year's net and comparable sales by an estimated one to one and one-half percent," Costco said.
March net sales rose 8 percent to $10.43 billion.
Excluding the negative impact of foreign exchange rates and gasoline prices, same-store sales rose 7 percent. International same-store sales for March, excluding fuel, jumped 9 percent.
Sales rose in Japan where shoppers bought more before the country hiked its sales tax from April 1, said the company which operates 650 warehouses across the world.
Costco, which competes with BJ's Wholesale Club Inc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Sam's Club, offers everyday items below supermarket prices, hoping customers will buy other goods as well. It usually prices gasoline lower than competing stations. (Reporting by Arnab Sen in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)