Costco's (NASDAQ:COST) quarterly results weren't too flashy, but who needs razzle-dazzle when you're talking about a great company for the long term? Costco's one of the most solid companies out there.

Fiscal first-quarter profit at Costco was basically flat, up 1.1%, to $266 million, or $0.60 per share. Although this isn't exactly a mind-blowing increase, the figure was in line with analysts' expectations. Net sales increased 6%, to $16.92 billion. Same-store sales increased 3% (taking out impacts from gasoline and currency).

Costco's same-store sales are definitely showing a step in the right direction compared to earlier quarters this year.

Costco's same-store sales (excluding gas and currency effects)

Q4 (Aug. 30, 2009)

Q3 (May 5, 2009)

Q2 (Feb. 15, 2009)




Source: Company earnings releases.

Positive tidbits from the latest release included the fact that revenue from Costco's membership fees increased by 5%, and that its U.S. same-store sales increased 2% despite the lackluster environment.

The wholesaler also said non-food sales have been improving, which is definitely heartening given many folks' focus on necessities these days. Meanwhile, I'll bet some fans will be relieved that Costco and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) have fixed their pricing dispute. When I make trips to Costco, I often throw some of my beloved Diet Coke into the cart.

Given consumers' newfound thrift, stocks of discounters like Costco, BJ's Wholesale (NYSE:BJ), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and purveyors of cheap eats like McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) have a lot of appeal. These retailers are all about the deals, and that's an important component these days.

Of course, one might argue that Costco actually isn't much of a deal, stock-wise. (In fact, is Costco or BJ's the better buy for investors?) Costco's price-to-earnings ratio of 24 is quite pricy compared to that of comparable retailers. (BJ's is just 14, Wal-Mart's is 16.)

Still, Costco's one of the best-run retailers out there, and it has an awesome head honcho in Jim Sinegal. (Here's a video snippet of Jim Sinegal when he spoke at Fool HQ several months ago.) Frugal investors may want to wait for a cheaper price to get into the stock, but I'd say it's an investment that's perfect for long-term portfolios, regardless of near-term consumer spending pressures.

Throw some related Foolishness into your cart (there's no line!):

Costco is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Costco, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart are Inside Value recommendations. Coca-Cola is an Income Investor pick. The Fool owns shares of Costco. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.