Undeterred by its recent lacklustre performance, US warehouse club operator Costco is pressing ahead with the most aggressive growth strategy in its history. Announcing plans to open 70 stores over the next 12 months, doubling the average growth of the previous three years, president Jim Sinegal said the US' economic slowdown would not affect worldwide expansion plans. "Our intent is to build the business so that it will be around 50 years from now. We don't think it would be right to abort the plan because good companies gain market share in bad times. We become more attractive because our pricing is good." The group recently cut earnings estimates by 10% for the combined third and fourth quarters and by 5% for fiscal 2001. {{NEWS }}