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March 4, 1998 at 12:00 AM EST

Costco Companies, Inc. Reports February Sales Results And Plans For $5 Membership Fee Increase

ISSAQUAH, Wash., March 4, Costco Companies, Inc., (“Costco” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: COST) today reported net sales of $1.65 billion for the four weeks ended March 1, 1998, an increase of 9 percent from $1.52 billion in the same four-week period of the prior fiscal year. On a comparable warehouse basis, that is warehouses open at least a year, sales increased 7 percent.

For the first twenty-six weeks of its 1998 fiscal year ended March 1, 1998, the Company reported net sales of $11.84 billion, an increase of 11 percent from $10.70 billion during the first twenty-six weeks of the prior fiscal year. Comparable warehouse sales for this year-to-date period increased 8 percent over the prior year’s level.

In addition, the Company announced its plan to increase its annual membership fee for Gold Star (individual), Business and Business Add-on Members by $5 effective April 1, 1998 (May 1, 1998 in Canada). These fee increases are the first in four years, and will allow the Company to be even more competitive in the future, and pass on additional savings to its more than 15 million members worldwide.

The Company currently operates 269 warehouses, including 205 in the United States, 56 in Canada, seven in the United Kingdom, and one warehouse in Taiwan. The Company also operates 14 warehouses in Mexico with a joint venture partner, and has a license agreement for the operation of two membership warehouses in Korea. The Company will report its second quarter and year-to-date operating results on March 12, 1998.

CONTACTS: Costco Companies, Inc.
Richard Galanti, 425/313-8203
Bob Nelson, 425/313-8255