Costco expanding Canadian footprint


MONTREAL – Costco says it will open seven locations in Canada next year after opening its first business centre this fall.

The Washington State-based big-box retailer currently operates 91 stores across the country and 715 around the world.

The first Canadian store geared to business customers is slated to open soon near Toronto, raising the total number of international business centres to 15.

Business centres are about two-thirds the size of a regular Costco and offer a wider selection of business-oriented merchandise and services — but no consumer products like apparel, toys and bakery items.

Meanwhile, Costco (Nasdaq:COST) said it hasn’t yet decided whether to increase membership fees in Canada and the United States despite raising annual charges in September in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Mexico and the U.K.

Costco normally increases membership fees every five or six years. The last increase, equal to 10 per cent, took place in November 2011.