Costco Q4 profit up 11%, raises membership fees

Issaquah, Wash. -- Costco Wholesale Corp. reported an 11% increase in its fourth quarter net income, below forecasts. The company also announced that it will raise its membership fees starting Nov. 1.

Costco's net income rose to $478 million for the period ended Aug. 28, up from $432 million in the year-ago period. The quarter included a "last-in, first-out" inventory charge of four cents per share. This charge reflects a requirement that the company revalue its inventory if prices rise or fall notably.

Revenue rose 17% to $28.18 billion as membership fee revenue increased to $590 million from $533 million. The company said its performance was also helped by sales from its Mexico joint venture.

Same-store sales climbed 10% in the United States, and 19% abroad. Removing the impact of inflation in gas prices and strengthening foreign currencies, same-store sales rose 7%.

Costco announced it will raise annual membership fees by $5 to $55 for U.S. individual, business and business add-on members, as well as Canada business members beginning Nov. 1. The membership fee increase follows a similar move by BJ's Wholesale Club.

Costco’s executive membership annual fees will also increase in the United States and Canada to $110 from $100. The maximum 2% reward tied to the executive membership will rise from $500 to $750.

For the year, Costco's earnings rose 12% to $1.46 billion, and annual revenue rose 14% to $88.92 billion.

Same-store sales were up 10%, rising 7% in the United States and 16% overseas.

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