|Exchange:||NASDAQ national market|
|Stock:||Costco Wholesale Corporation|
|Costco Wholesale Corporation and its subsidiaries began operations in 1983 in Seattle, Washington. The Company and its subsidiaries are engaged in the operation of membership warehouses in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, through majority-owned subsidiaries in Taiwan and Korea, and a 50% owned joint venture in Mexico (Mexico). The Company operates membership warehouses based on the concept that offering its members low prices on a limited selection of nationally branded and private-label products of merchandise categories will produce high sales volumes and rapid inventory turnover. This turnover, when combined with the operating efficiencies achieved by volume purchasing, efficient distribution and reduced handling of merchandise in no-frills, self-service warehouse facilities, enables it to operate profitably at lower gross margins than traditional wholesalers, mass merchandisers, supermarkets, and supercenters. The Company buys the majority of its merchandise directly from manufacturers and route it to a cross-docking consolidation point (depot) or directly to its warehouses. The Company's depots receive container-based shipments from manufacturers and reallocate these goods for shipment to its individual warehouses, generally in less than twenty-four hours. This maximizes freight volume and handling efficiencies, eliminating many of the costs associated with traditional multiple-step distribution channels. Such traditional steps include purchasing from distributors as opposed to manufacturers, use of central receiving, storing and distributing warehouses, and storage of merchandise in locations off the sales floor. The Company's typical warehouse format averages approximately 143,000 square feet; newer units tend to be slightly larger. Floor plans are designed for economy and efficiency in the use of selling space, the handling of merchandise, and the control of inventory. The Company's warehouses generally operate on a seven-day, 69-hour week, open weekdays between 10:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., with earlier weekend closing hours. The Company's strategy is to provide its members with high quality merchandise at prices consistently lower than they can obtain elsewhere. The Company seeks to limit specific items in each product line to fast-selling models, sizes, and colors. Certain jurisdictions have enacted or proposed laws and regulations that would prevent or restrict the operation or expansion plans of certain large retailers and warehouse clubs, including the Company, within their jurisdictions.|
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