By Tamera Adams

It seems like just yesterday that the economic resilience of membership clubs such as Costco and BJ' s made business news headlines.

But now, as the fourth quarter draws to a close, Costco has sent up a flare to warn those who had high hopes that profits will be "well below" analysts' expectations, Shop Talk has reported.

The Reuter's blog includes Costco's explanation of how rising energy costs and reduced margins on merchandise are responsible for its disappointing fourth-quarter earnings.

Costco's low prices kept customers coming, but they also cut into profits. I'm curious to see how similar tactics fared for BJ's and Sam's Club.

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