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Costco to close two stores

Costco Wholesale Corporation announced plans April 2 to shut down its two Costco Home stores in Kirkland and Tempe, Arizona by July 3. The decision was reportedly made as current lease obligations at the properties neared their end and changes in the company's plans due to the economic downturn. CEO Jim Sinegal called the stores, dedicated exclusively home furnishings, "a valuable experiment for us," but unsustainable as the company decided "the single-format Costco Home concept does not fit into our long-term expansion plans." Their warehouse store at 8629 120th Ave. N.E. - their second to open in August 1985 - will remain open. Sinegal said no further store closures were planned, saying the measures taken would have no significant impact on the operations or financial results of the company. The warehouse chain, which claims to be the fifth largest retailer in the US, adopted the popular "Kirkland Signature" brand while headquartered here from 1987 until 1996. Officials say no layoffs are expected at the Kirkland Costco Home store, located at 11831 120th Ave. N.E. in the Totem Lake area, the Phoenix store or their Issaquah headquarters. They're assuring employees will be offered other jobs within the company. Costco currently operates 554 warehouses, including 407 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 76 in Canada, 21 in the United Kingdom, six in Korea, five in Taiwan, eight in Japan and 31 in Mexico. The Company also operates Costco Online, an electronic commerce web site, at www.costco.com and at www.costco.ca in Canada.
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