History

The following highlights are based on Costco's fiscal year

  • 1976
    • Sol & Robert Price raise $2.5 million from friends and family to open Price Club on July 12th, the first warehouse club for business shoppers only. The warehouse was located in a remodelled airplane hangar on Morena Boulevard in San Diego, California.
  • 1979
    • After a $750,000 loss the first year of operation, Price Club now has two locations, 900 employees, 200,000 members, and a profit of $1 million dollars.
  • 1980
    • The Price Company offers public stock on July 12th.
  • 1982
    • Jeff Brotman and Jim Sinegal meet and draw up plans to start a new wholesale club business.
  • 1983
    • The first Costco warehouse opens in September in Seattle, Washington.
    • By the end of the year two, additional locations had opened in Portland, Oregon and Spokane, Washington.
  • 1984
    • The fourth Costco warehouse opens in Salt Lake City, Utah
    • By calendar year-end, there were nine Costco's in five states, serving over 200,000 members.
    • Price Club sales exceed $1 billion.
    • The Price Company stock splits 2-for-1 on June 13th.
  • 1985
    • Costco offers public stock on December 5th.
    • Costco's first hot dog cart opens. The price for a hot dog and a soda is $1.50.
    • Costco opens it's first Canadian warehouse in Burnaby, British Columbia.
  • 1986
    • Price Club is 10 years old and is named the Forbes Magazine's "Best Managed Company".
    • The company has 22 locations, 3.2 million members, and 7,294 employees.
    • Costco is three years old and has 17 locations, 1.3 million members, and 3,740 employees.
    • Costco's first Pharmacy opens in Portland, Oregon and the Tukwila, WA warehouse becomes the house of the company's first fresh meat department.
    • The Price Company Stock splits 2-for-1 on February 4th.
  • 1987
    • Costco opens it's first produce and bakery departments.
    • Both Price Club and Costco open their first Optical Labs.
  • 1988
    • Costco closed Mid West Division and focused on East & West Coast markets.
  • 1989
    • Costco begins the year with 46 warehouses in operation.
    • The Price Company is the third most profitable company in the United States.
    • The first 1-Hour Photo opens in the Chula Vista warehouse in December.
  • 1991
    • Costco Stock splits 2-for-1 on May 16th.
  • 1992
    • The first Price Club in Mexico City opens.
    • Costco's stock splits 3-for-2 on March 9th.
    • In December Costco opens it's 100th warehouse in Miami Lakes, Florida.
  • 1993
    • Costco celebrates its 10th anniversary in September.
    • Shareholders approve the merger of Price Company and Costco.
    • PriceCostco is formed and opens its first warehouse in the United Kingdom in West Thurrock, Essex, England
  • 1994
    • The first Asia Costco opens in Seoul, Korea.
    • First Hearing Aid Center opens.
    • Price Enterprises spin-off in December.
  • 1995
    • The 200th location opens in Wenatchee, Washington.
    • The first gas station opens in Tucson, Arizona.
    • Kirkland Signature, Costco's exclusive private label, is introduced.
  • 1997
    • The company officially changes it's name from PriceCostco to Costco Companies, Inc.
    • The first Taiwan Costco opens in Kaohsiung.
    • Executive Membership is introduced.
  • 1998
    • Costco opens five locations in Detroit, Michigan on the same day.
    • E-Commerce at Costco.com brings Costco prices and services to the internet.
  • 1999
    • The first Japan warehouse opens in Hisayama.
    • Special order kiosk introduced.
    • The Costco American Express co-branded membership credit card is introduced.
    • The average annual sales per warehouse reaches $100 million.
    • The Company changes it's name to Costco Wholesale Corporation on August 30th.
  • 2000
    • The 2% reward program is initiated, increasing Executive Member value even more.
    • Costco opens its Travel Business.
    • Costco's stock splits 2-for-1 on January 14th.
    • Costco opens two locations in Texas.
  • 2001
    • In July, the Company celebrates its 25th anniversary.
    • Costco consolidates it's Canadian operations to a new regional office in Ottawa, Ontario
  • 2002
    • Costco enters Kansas and Indiana bringing the total number of states with operations to 36.
    • Costco enters Puerto Rico with two units opened in November 2001.
    • Costco finishes the fiscal year with 40.5 million cardholders and 98,000 employees worldwide.
    • The Costco hot dog and soda is still priced at $1.50
  • 2003
    • Costco Home opened in Kirkland, WA in December 2002.
    • Costco.com generated sales of $226 million.
    • Average annual sales per warehouse was $105 million.
    • 24 new Costco locations were opened
  • 2004
    • True Earnings credit card from Costco and American Express is introduced.
    • Costco is the 5th largest retailer in the U.S. and 11th largest in the world.
    • Fortune Magazine lists Costco 29th on the Fortune 500.
    • Costco Enters Iowa bringing the total number of states with operations to 37.
  • 2005
    • Costco opened second Home store in Tempe, AZ in October 2004.
    • Costco.ca (equivalent of Costco.com in the U.S.) is launched for Canadian members in February 2005.
    • 25 warehouses exceed annual sales of $200 million, with one warehouse that exceeded $300 million.
    • 63 million hot dog & soda combinations were sold.
    • Over 57,000 vacation packages were booked through Costco Travel.
  • 2006
    • Costco opened it's first car wash facility at Seattle, WA on April 26, 2006.
    • Costco was named one of the "most admired" companies by Fortune magazine.
    • Costco Optical Center received the National Vision Retailers award for highest customer satisfaction from J.D. Power and Associates.
    • Introduced over 200 generic prescription medications in a 100 ct. for $10 or less.
    • Opened 27 new locations (US - 20, CN - 3, UK - 2, MX - 2) for a year-end total of 487.
    • Over 30 million rotisserie chickens were sold company wide.
  • 2007
    • The typical Costco location generated sales of $130 million.
    • Costco was named one of the "most admired" companies by Fortune Magazine for a second consecutive year.
    • 550 Costco employees graduated college.
    • The current annual dividend is $.58 per share.
    • Costco.com exceeds $1 billion in sales on the year.
  • 2008
    • Costco opens office in Sydney, Australia.
  • 2009
    • Costco opens first warehouse in Melbourne, Australia.
  • 2011
    • Costco Australia expands nationally with the opening of two warehouses:
    • Costco Auburn, in Sydney's West, opened 21 July, 2011.
    • Costco Canberra, opened 22 July, 2011.
The Costco Connection
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