NEW YORK — Food is the key reason the majority of warehouse-club shoppers in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas choose Costco, according to Katrin Yaghoubi Sosnick, president of Rondeel Research Group here. Speaking in a conference call sponsored by Citigroup North America here, Sosnick said between 76% and 99% of respondents’ purchases were for food, with customers spending a average of $100 to $300 per visit and averaging one to five visits per month. Among the changes respondents said they would like to see at Costco, Sosnick indicated, are more organic and health foods; samples of more items; more brand-name items; more consistency and less rotation of items; and smaller quantities for smaller families. They also said they might increase their frequency of visits if the warehouses had an express line for 10 items or less, and they also said they would like to see more stores in the same neighborhood to reduce parking congestion. Rising gas prices have had only a minor impact on shopping habits, Sosnick noted.
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