Costco or Costco Wholesale Corporation is a multinational corporation from America which operates a chain of membership-only warehouse clubs. It is the world’s second-largest retailer in the world after Walmart and the largest retailer of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken, and wine. It is named fourteen in the list of corporations by total revenue in the United States by Fortune 500 rankings.
Price Club warehouse was founded by Sol Price and his son, Robert, in 1976 as a retail warehouse club. It was placed inside a series of old airplane hangars, which was previously owned by Howard Huges. The company opened its first warehouse in 1983 in Seattle and started wholesale distribution. In the same year, two new warehouses were opened in Portland and Spokane.
In 1993, Price declined the offer to merge the company with Sam’s Club. However, he partnered the company with Costco. The business model of both companies was similar, which made the merger more natural. The combined company was named PriceCostco, and the customers of any of the two companies could use their membership at any shop of the two warehouses.
The company was led by officers and executives of both the firms, but later, Price brothers left to form a new company, Price Enterprises, which is a warehouse club chain in Central America and the Caribbean. In 1997, the name of the company was changed to Costco Wholesale Corporation and was rebranded as Costco for marketing purposes.
Costco is known for frequently changing inventory and using seasonal products. It has gradually expanded its range of products and services. Previously, the company sold only boxed products that could be dispensed, but now they promote products that are more difficult to handle, such as art, books, caskets, clothing, computer software, fine wine, furniture, and others. Most of the warehouses also have pharmacies, optometrists, photo processors, gas stations, tire garages, and many more.
You can also find liquor stores at some locations which are kept separate from the main warehouse to comply with liquor restrictions. In 1992, Costco introduced Kirkland Signature as its private label. It accounts for almost a third of all Costco sales and is growing faster than Costco sales. The company started publishing The Costco Connection magazine, which is available to the members of Costco, free of charge.
Later, Costco started many other services such as concierge service to members who purchase electronics, investment broker and travel agent services, multi-functional photography printing lab offering services, and many more.
The company formed the Costco Auto Program, which provides services at a low, prearranged price for Costco members at more than 3,000 dealerships nationwide. In 2005, Costco partnered with NOVA Information Systems to market and support payment processing services.
In 2015, Costco Optical ranked as the fifth-largest optical company in the U.S. The company formed a new subsidiary, Costco travels that offers leisure travel to Costco members in Europe, Florida, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Mexico, and the South Pacific. In 2005, the firm collaborated with PhotoChannel Networks Inc to form a PNI Digital Media Platform that offers online photo printing for Costco members through the website.
In 2001, the company opened a B2B online shopping site named Costco.com for faster and more business shopping. The site received more than 50 million visitors in the initial years. Later, other versions of the site were launched for specific countries like Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and the UK. Later, Costco partnered with Shipt, an online grocery delivery service, to provide products in select Florida markets.
Awards & Achievements
Costco was ranked number 14 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue in 2019. It was also ranked number one in the specialty retail store industry by The American Customer Satisfaction Index.
It has won several awards, including the Best Company for Diversity, Best Company for Women 2019, Best Company Work-Life Balance, and many more.
Net Worth of Costco in 2021
As of March 2021, Costco has an estimated net worth of more than $90 billion. In 2019, the company earned $3.659 billion, with an increase of 7.9% over the previous fiscal cycle. The company’s market capitalization has been valued at over $95.7 billion.
Costco has 785 warehouses and more than 250k full and part-time employees worldwide. In 2019, the company had 98 million active members. It is the first company in the world to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in under six years.
Costco is one of the largest retailers in the world. It was started as a small retail warehouse in California but now has expanded in almost every corner of the globe.