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**Company History and Milestones:**
– Founded in 1983 in Seattle by Sinegal and Brotman.
– Merged with Price Club in 1993.
– Headquarters relocated to Issaquah in 1996.
– First warehouse in China opened in 2019.
– Notable milestones, including being the third largest retailer in the US in 2014.
– First Costco in New Zealand opened in 2022.

**Financial Performance and Ownership:**
– Revenue of $242.29 billion in 2023.
– Earnings of US$6.292 billion for fiscal year 2023.
– United States accounts for 72.9% of revenue.
– Costco had 316,000 employees in 2023.
– Institutional investors own over 70% of Costco’s shares.
– Vanguard Group is the largest shareholder with 9.10%.

**Business Model and Operations:**
– Operates on a membership-only model.
– Revenue mainly from membership fees.
– Divided into US Operations, Canadian Operations, and Other International Operations.
– Lean business model with profit margins at 2%.
– Gross margin driven by membership fees.
– Refusal to stock products with high wholesale prices.

**Product Offerings and Services:**
– Diverse range of products beyond bulk items.
– Kirkland Signature brand offers quality products at discounted prices.
– Additional services like gas stations, pharmacies, and travel.
– Free concierge service for electronics.
– Costco Optical is the fifth-largest optical company in the US.

**Sales, Marketing, and Environmental Initiatives:**
– Regular items marked up by a maximum of 14% over cost.
– Overhead costs about 10% of revenue.
– Efforts to minimize waste and promote sustainability.
– Initiatives include reducing plastic use and sustainable packaging.
– Shareholders voted to focus on Costco’s scope 3 emissions in January 2022.

Costco (Wikipedia)

Costco Wholesale Corporation (commonly shortened to Costco) is an American multinational corporation which operates a chain of membership-only big-box warehouse club retail stores. As of 2023, Costco is the third-largest retailer in the world and is the world's largest retailer of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken, and wine as of 2016. Costco is ranked #11 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. Costco uses a club warehouse wholesale retailer channel of distribution while also selling their private label brand directly to consumers.

Costco Wholesale Corporation
Company typePublic
FoundedSeptember 15, 1983; 40 years ago (1983-09-15) (as Costco)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Number of locations
861 (2023)
Area served
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Iceland
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Puerto Rico
Key people
BrandsKirkland Signature
RevenueIncrease US$242.3 billion (2023)
Increase US$8.114 billion (2023)
Increase US$6.292 billion (2023)
Total assetsIncrease US$68.99 billion (2023)
Total equityIncrease US$25.06 billion (2023)
MembersIncrease 127.9 million (2023)
Number of employees
Increase 316,000 (2023)
Original logo (used until 1993, but carried by stores until 1997)

Costco's worldwide headquarters are in Issaquah, Washington, an eastern suburb of Seattle, although its Kirkland Signature house label bears the name of its former location in Kirkland. The company opened its first warehouse (the chain's term for its retail outlets) in Seattle in 1983. Through mergers, however, Costco's corporate history dates back to 1976, when its former competitor Price Club was founded in San Diego, California. As of February 2024, Costco has 871 warehouses worldwide: 602 in the United States, 108 in Canada, 40 in Mexico, 33 in Japan, 29 in the United Kingdom, 18 in South Korea, 15 in Australia, 14 in Taiwan, six in China, four in Spain, two in France, and one each in Iceland, New Zealand, and Sweden.

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