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San Diego-Based Price Co. Has 61% Rise

October 20, 1985|GREG JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

Bolstered by the addition of five new discount warehouse stores and continued strong sales at 16 existing Price Club warehouses, San Diego-based Price Co. this week reported a 61% jump in net income for the year ended Aug. 31, to $46 million, and a 61% increase in revenue, to $1.8 billion.

The sales figures make the company the largest San Diego-based publicly held corporation. San Diego Gas & Electric is second, with annual revenue last year of $1.6 billion.

Net income for the fourth quarter rose 56%, to $12.9 million, while sales rose 55%, to $477 million.

Sales at warehouse stores that were open for the entire fiscal year increased 17% during the fourth quarter and 22% for the year.

Earlier this month, Price announced that it was negotiating with a Montreal-based company to open an undisclosed number of Price Clubs in Canada. The negotiations could be completed "shortly," according to a Price Co. spokesman.

Price Co. operates warehouse outlets in California, Arizona, Virginia and Maryland.

The company, which serves primarily wholesale customers, earlier this year began requiring its individual Price Club members to pay a $25 "Gold Star" membership fee. At the time, chief executive Robert Price said the fee might initially "result in loss of bottom-line income to the company."

However, Price said that the fee would likely produce a "stronger company that will offer even better prices. We're hoping that the customer who might spend $600 (would then) spend $800."

A Price Co. spokesman said Monday that the anticipated slowdown probably would not be felt until the first half of fiscal 1986.

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