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SAN DIEGO - Warehouse club operator PriceSmart, Inc. said that for the month of July, net sales increased 6.9 percent to $50.3 million from $47.1 million a year earlier. For the 11 months ended July 31, net sales decreased 8.5 percent to $545.3 million from $595.7 million last year.
The company had 26 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of July 2004 (excluding three unconsolidated warehouse clubs in Mexico owned through a 50/50 joint venture). In the comparable period a year ago, the PriceSmart had 28 warehouse clubs in operation (excluding the three unconsolidated warehouse clubs in Mexico).
For the five weeks ended Aug. 1, comparable-store sales for warehouse clubs open at least 12 full months increased 5.3 percent, compared with the same five-week period last year. For the 48 weeks ended Aug. 1, comp sales for clubs open at least 12 full months decreased 5.4 percent. Excluding prior-year Philippine telephone card sales, comp sales for the period decreased 3.2 percent.
PriceSmart e.v.p. and c.f.o. John M. Heffner told Progressive Grocer that the sales increase was due to "strong growth in our Caribbean and certain of our Central American operations," which he attributed to the company's belief in "the warehouse store philosophy" of providing value to members. "That's A No. 1," he stressed. No expansion was planned in the near term, he continued, adding that the company would for now concentrate on further growing sales in the clubs it has in place.
PriceSmart owns and operates U.S.-style membership shopping warehouse clubs in Central America, the Caribbean, and Asia. The company now operates 26 warehouse clubs in 12 countries and one U.S. territory (four each in Panama and the Philippines; three in Costa Rica; two each in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Trinidad; and one each in Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and the United States Virgin Islands). PriceSmart additionally licenses 11 warehouses in China and one on Saipan, and has an additional three warehouse clubs in Mexico as part of a 50/50 joint venture with Grupo Gigante, S.A. de C.V.