Costco Membership Costs To Increase On Nov. 1

Company Has Made $87B in Net Sales So Far In 2011

In a move that will affect the wallets of 22 million of its shoppers, Costco plans to raise membership rates for the first time in five years.

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Beginning November 1, the annual fee for a business membership will just from $50 to$ 55, and the wholesale club's executive membership will go from $100 to $110.

Costco has been known for its bulk products and low prices, and shopper Carole Ellis said the fee increase is worth it.

"That's a minimal increase, I can handle that. If it was a big increase, I might think twice," said Ellis, a Costco member since 1993.

Costco's fee hike comes amid rising profits. In fiscal year 2010, Costco made $76 billion in net sales, compared to $87 billion in 2011 -- which makes a 14 percent increase in profit.

Some analysts expected even more.

San Diego State University finance professor Dan Seiver said the current state of the economy has many people willing to pay more to save more.

"Costco prices are pretty good, and so people will tend to shop there even in difficult times," Seiver said.

Costco member Pen Williams said it's a matter of value, and he told 10News, "Usually my membership fee is absorbed within the goods, so I would definitely continue to come to Costco even if the fee went up."

Ellis said if the $5 or $10 set you back, a nearly-free lunch at a Costco warehouse may help.

"Everybody loves a Costco brunch," Ellis said.

Seiver said inflation may be in part to blame for the rise in costs, but a Costco employee told 10News it is a coincidence that the financial report and fee hikes happened at the same time.

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