Costco: Australia in '09

Costco said it hopes to expand into Australia next year but has not yet made a decision to enter China. Costco executives made the comments during presentations at the company's annual shareholder's meeting last week. The Issaquah, Wash.-based company, which currently operates 531 warehouses in the U.S. and six other countries, also confirmed that it is on track to open 19 to

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Costco said it hopes to expand into Australia next year but has not yet made a decision to enter China.

Costco executives made the comments during presentations at the company's annual shareholder's meeting here last week.

The Issaquah, Wash.-based company, which currently operates 531 warehouses in the U.S. and six other countries, also confirmed that it is on track to open 19 to 21 more membership stores (including four or five relocations) before its fiscal year ends on Aug. 31, for a total of 29 to 31 new locations during the fiscal year.

Costco has been looking for locations for its first Australian store in major cities throughout the country, a spokesman for Costco told SN after the meeting.

Costco currently has 389 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, 75 in Canada, 19 in the U.K., six in Korea, five in Taiwan, seven in Japan and 30 in Mexico.