ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. here said Thursday it expects to open approximately 150 new warehouses over the next five years, including the 28 it projects opening this year.


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Of the total, about 55 would be in the U.S., with the rest in Canada or overseas, Richard Galanti, executive vice president and chief financial officer, told investors during a conference call. In addition, he said half the warehouses would be in-fill locations and half in new markets.

Costco has already opened 19 new warehouses through the first three quarters of the fiscal year, with nine more due in the fourth quarter — three in the U.S., three in Japan and one each in the United Kingdom, Taiwan and Australia — for a total of 28 this year, compared with 16 in fiscal 2012 and 20 in fiscal 2011.

In response to a question, Galanti said the increased rate of expansion has less to do with competitive activity "but simply reflects that we are doing well and we want to ramp up expansion, which is a decision we made two or three years ago."

Read more: Costco Plans to Accelerate Openings

For the 12-week third quarter that ended May 12, net income rose 18.9% to $459 million, while sales increased 7.8% to $23.6 billion. Comparable-store sales, excluding gas and foreign exchange rates, were up 7%. For the 36-week year-to-date, net income rose 29.3% to $1.4 billion, while sales climbed 8.5% to $71.1 billion and comps were up 6%.

According to Galanti, the number of transactions was flat for the quarter, though customer frequency rose 5.5% for the quarter and 4.8% for the year to date, which he said he attributed to two factors: the price of gas, which accounts for about 10.5% of Costco's sales — and the fact 30% of gas customers shop the warehouses; and fresh food sales, which drive greater frequency.

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