Costco Wholesale Corporation operates an international chain of membership warehouses, under the "Costco Wholesale" name, that carry quality, brand name merchandise at substantially lower prices than are typically found at conventional wholesale or retail sources. The warehouses are designed to help small-to-medium-sized businesses reduce costs in purchasing for resale and for everyday business use. Individuals may also purchase for their personal needs.
Costco's warehouses present one of the largest and most exclusive product category selections to be found under a single roof. Categories include groceries, confectionary, appliances, television and media, automotive supplies, tyres, toys, hardware, sporting goods, jewellery, watches, cameras, books, housewares, apparel, health and beauty aids, tobacco, furniture, office supplies and office equipment. Costco is known for carrying top quality national and regional brands, at prices consistently below traditional wholesale or retail outlets. Members can also shop for private label Kirkland Signature products, designed to be of equal or better quality than national brands, including juice, cookies, coffee, tyres, housewares, luggage, appliances, clothing and detergent.
According to Jim Sinegal, the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer, "Costco is able to offer lower prices and better values by eliminating virtually all the frills and costs historically associated with conventional wholesalers and retailers, including salespeople, fancy buildings, delivery, billing and accounts receivable. We run a tight operation with extremely low overhead which enables us to pass on dramatic savings to our members."
Costco offers two types of membership: Business and Gold Star. Business members qualify by owning or operating a business while Gold Star membership is available to individuals. All members get a free additional card. Costco warehouses are open seven days per week for all members.
Costco opened the first Australian location at Docklands in August 2009 and is opening locations in Auburn, NSW and Canberra, ACT in July, 2011. – less