Costco Wholesale UK has reported a 13% downturn in pre-tax profit to £24.3m, according to its latest accounts.

Profit for the 53 weeks to 3 September 2006 was hit by increased promotional activity, rising energy costs and rates and a remodelling of its fresh foods departments, the wholesaler said. However, an increase in sales of fresh food and core grocery items helped increase turnover by 11% to £1.13bn.

A greater emphasis on fresh foods in the future would help increase the frequency of members visiting its depots, Costco claimed.

The group said it had long-term plans to open between 45 and 50 more UK depots.

The company said the market was currently large enough for it to continue opening two or three stores a year "in locations that have a good network of easily accessible roads and a high proportion of businesses".