ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. here said gasoline sales squeezed the company’s margins in the first quarter, but gross-margin gains on core items, including food, helped the chain meet analysts’ estimates for profitability. In a conference call yesterday, the company said gross margins in its key product areas — food and sundries; hard lines; soft lines; and fresh foods — were up 41 basis points in the 12-week period, which ended Nov. 25, compared with the first quarter of a year ...

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