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ISSAQUAH, WA-Costco Wholesale Corp. reported positive results for its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 2, with net income rising to $372.4 million, or 83 cents per share, in the fiscal fourth quarter, up from $355.6 million, or 75 cents per share a year ago. The company plans to open about 30 new stores in fiscal 2008, including a venture into Australia, and to relocate another eight to 10 stores.

Richard Galanti, CFO for the company, said in a conference call Wednesday that the firm had improved traffic and more spending in the fourth quarter, and that comparable sales increased 5% from the comparable sales in Q4 2006, and increased 6% from the previous year. “Given the strength of the fourth quarter, we’re pretty optimistic about next year,” Galanti said during the call.

In fiscal year 2007, the company opened 30 new stores, including three in Canada and one each in the UK and Japan, and another store in Mexico. These openings bring the company’s store total to 518, including 383 in the US and Puerto Rico, 71 in Canada, 19 in the UK, five in Korea, four in Taiwan, six in Japan and 30 in Mexico.

This next year will see 85% of the new stores in the US and Canada, and just a couple of locations entering the Australian market. “Within the next two or three years we’ll continue bringing stores internationally, but probably we’ll stick with Asia and Europe instead of South America,” Galanti said.

The relocations are new, as there were no moves in fiscal 2007. Galanti says capital expenditures will be about $1.8 billion in fiscal 2008, which includes more costs this year for the relocations. At least half of the relocations are planned for California and Washington, with the new stores likely to be more than the average 140,000-sf warehouse.

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