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May 7, 1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Costco Companies, Inc. Reports Recent Sales Results

ISSAQUAH, Wash., May 7 -- Costco Companies, Inc. (“Costco” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: COST) today reported net sales of $1.77 billion for the four weeks ended May 3, 1998, an increase of 11 percent from $1.60 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 8 percent. This year’s four-week period included 27 days of sales compared to 28 days during the year-earlier period, reflecting the timing of Easter, which impacted sales negatively by an estimated 2%.

For the first thirty-five weeks of its 1998 fiscal year ended May 3, 1998, the Company reported net sales of $15.78 billion, an increase of 11 percent from $14.26 billion during the first thirty-five-week period of the prior fiscal year. Comparable warehouse sales for this year-to-date period increased 8 percent over the prior year’s level.

The Company currently operates 275 warehouses: 211 in the United States (including five warehouses in the Detroit, Michigan area, which opened May 1, 1998), 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. Expansion plans for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on August 30, 1998, are to open two additional new warehouses in the United States.

On May 4, 1998, the Company announced the formation of a joint venture in the Republic of Korea with Shinsegae Department Store Co., Ltd. (“Shinsegae”), to acquire the membership warehouse club operation from Shinsegae. The operation being purchased by the joint venture currently operates two membership warehouse clubs under the name Price Club Korea, one each in Seoul and Taegu. A third membership warehouse club will open in Taejon at the end of May 1998. Since 1993, Shinsegae has operated the Price Club Korea operation under a license agreement with Costco.

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