Costco Wholesale Corporation is a company that runs a chain of big-box stores which resemble warehouses and sells a wide variety of wholesale products. Some of the different departments in which they operate include grocery, appliances , baked goods , electronics, apparel , and books , among many others, as well as offering a food court in many of their establishments. Many branches also offer optical services, gas stations, tire garages, or photo processing services. The company was founded in 1983 in Washington State, and has since opened warehouses in ten other countries . Some of the most evocative features of Costco stores include the no-frills warehouse layout, bulk packaging, low prices, and free food samples. Unlike most big-box stores, Costco requires an annual membership to shop in their stores. In 2020, Costco was named the sixth most valuable retail brand in the world, with a brand value of over 28 billion U.S. dollars.

Costco’s main competitors

Costco’s biggest competitor, Walmart, still dwarfs Costco in terms of sheer numbers. In 2019, Walmart generated almost four times more retail sales than Costco, but this is not to say that Costco’s future is not bright. In recent years, the company has seen continuous revenue growth and according to recent forecasts , it will continue to do so at least until 2025. Moreover, while Walmart had over 11 thousand stores worldwide , of which five percent corresponded to Sam’s Clubs, Costco registered nearly 800 warehouses globally . Another competitor, although not as big as Costco, is BJ’s Wholesale Club . BJ’s also functions as a membership-only warehouse club and operates mainly in the Eastern United States. As of 2021, the warehouse club registered over 200 locations, generating over 15 billion U.S. dollars in revenue .

Membership fees

In the United States, membership fees begin at around 60 U.S. dollars per year, which gives members access to all Costco locations worldwide. Although it may seem strange to pay a fee to shop at a store, the fact that Costco boasts over 100 million members worldwide speaks for itself. As to Sam’s Club, membership fees start at 45 U.S. dollars annually, with the option to upgrade. A plus Sam’s Club membership starts at 100 U.S. dollars per year, and unlike the club membership, customers can earn cash-back rewards. Such a concept is also applied in BJ’s Wholesale Club. Besides the regular subscription, the company operates a premium membership . This premium subscription is double the price of a normal membership and as well as its counterpart Sam’s Club, it offers the opportunity to earn cash-back rewards.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Costco".


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