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Costco maintains membership fees after profits beat expectations

by SuperiorInvest

Shoppers wait in line at the checkout counter at a Costco wholesale store in Orlando, Florida.

Paul Hennessy | Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Costco is still holding off on raising its membership fees after reporting fiscal fourth-quarter results that beat expectations.

The retailer typically raises fees about every five years, but did not say when it would do so again after rival Sam’s Club raised its fee in late August. On Thursday, Costco CFO Richard Galanti noted that the company had not yet reached its typical milestone for an increase.

“If you look at June 17, plus five years and seven months, you’re talking about January 23,” Galanti said during an earnings call with investors. “Now, I’m not suggesting it’s January 23rd. I’m just saying it’s not yet.

A Costco membership costs $60 a year or $120 a year for an executive membership that comes with additional benefits.

During the quarter ended Aug. 28, Costco said its membership grew and that executive members now account for a record 44% of members.

For the quarter, Costco reported higher revenue of $72.09 billion, which was slightly above analysts’ expectations of $72.04. Earnings per share rose from last year to $4.20, beating estimates of $4.17.

Gross margins declined in the quarter as inflation pushed up costs.

Costco shares were down 2% Friday morning.

Costco has kept its prices competitive and balanced kept the price of its hot dog combo meal at $1.50 as inflationary pressures from shoppers. Galanti saw a small increase in Kirkland’s private label products, but said the company is seeing a relatively strong consumer base.

“They’re not trading down. They’re trading up or certainly trading the same,” Galanti said in Thursday’s earnings call.

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