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09/23/2022

Costco Won’t Raise Prices on Annual Memberships

Competitor Sam’s Club announced in August that it would hike the cost of its memberships, though they’re still cheaper than Costco’s current rates.
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a close up of a costco logo on a warehosue
  • Costco isn’t raising the cost of its annual membership — yet.
  • The wholesale retailer told investors it hadn’t met the benchmark used to trigger an increase.
  • Its rival Sam’s Club will increase membership costs in October, but its membership is overall cheaper.

Costco on Thursday said it would not raise the price of its annual membership after it reported quarterly earnings that surpassed expectations.

Costco reported a 15.2% increase in net sales for the fourth quarter of this year compared to the fourth quarter in 2021, pulling in $70.8 billion in sales in 2022 compared to $61.4 billion during the same period last year.

Sales for the entire fiscal year totaled $222.7 billion, up 16% from its sales in 2021, the retailer said. 

A standard membership at Costco costs $60 per year, while its higher-tier executive membership costs $120 per year. The company typically increases the price of its memberships every 4-5 years, according to a Bloomberg report, and it last raised its membership cost in 2017. 

Richard Galanti, Costco’s chief financial officer, in a call with investors Thursday said the company has not yet met the benchmark it typically uses to decide when to pull the trigger on raising the cost of its membership, CNBC reported. 

“If you look at June of ’17, plus five years and seven months, you’re talking roughly January ’23,” Galanti said during an earnings call with investors. “Now I’m not suggesting it’s January ’23. I’m just saying it’s not there yet.”

The announcement from the wholesale retailer came about a month after rival Sam’s Club in August said it would raise the annual membership fee at its wholesale club, though the cost of a Sam’s Club membership is still cheaper overall. 

Beginning in October, a Sam’s Club membership will increase from $45 per year to $50 per year for its standard membership. Its “Plus” higher-tier membership will increase from $100 to $110. It was the first increase for the Walmart-owned retailer in nine years, and the first time Sam’s Club increased the cost of the “Plus” membership, per CNBC

Amid rising costs associated with inflation, Costco earlier this year increased prices at its in-store food court, though it has maintained the $1.50 price tag on its famous hot dog and soda combo, Business Insider reported.

The wholesale retailer in total operates 838 warehouses, with the majority in North America. It also operates locations in Japan, the UK, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Spain, France, China and Iceland.