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Membership Fees at Costco to Rise

Costco Wholesale Corp. plans to increase annual membership fees.

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. here said Wednesday it plans to increase annual membership fees next month.

However, Richard A. Galanti, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Costco believes "the enhanced value of... membership far exceeds the modest $5 and $10 increases in the fee level and will continue to allow us to bring our members even greater value on everything we offer."

Fees will be raised $5, to $55, for individual members and U.S. and Canadian business members; and $10, to $110, for executive members in the U.S. and Canada.

The company also announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year that ended Aug. 28. Net income for the 16-week fourth quarter rose 10.7% to $478 million, with sales increasing 16.9% to $27.6 billion and comparable store sales, excluding gasoline and foreign exchange rates, up 7%. For the year net income rose 12.2% to $1.5 billion, while sales increased 14.2% to $87 billion and comps, excluding gas and foreign exchange rates, were up 6%.

The company said the strongest comps came from the Southeast, the Midwest and California, "though all regions were fairly good," Galanti told industry analysts.

He also said Costco plans to spend between $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion on captial expenditures in fiscal 2012 to open 20 new stores — the same number it opened in fiscal 2011. The company expects to increase capital spending in the two following fiscal years, he added.