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Costco Wholesale Corporation SWOT & PESTLE Analysis

ID : 52147653| Sep 2019| 15 pages

COMPANY PROFILE -Costco Wholesale Corporation

Business Sector :Retail

Operating Geography :United States, North America, Global

About Costco Wholesale Corporation :

Costco Wholesale Corporation and subsidiaries, operational since 1983, is a warehouse company with operations in eleven countries. The company is headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, United States and has over 239,000 full and part-time employees worldwide as of 2018. With 750 warehouses in hundreds of locations across the globe, Costco provides a wide selection of merchandise, plus the convenience of specialty departments and exclusive member services, all designed to make shopping experience a pleasurable one. This American multinational corporation stock and sell quality, brand name merchandise at considerably discounted pricing than are conventionally available at other wholesale or retail sources. The business model of Costco revolves around helping small-to-medium-sized businesses scale down cost prices for resale and for everyday business use. Individual members are also permitted to buy in bulk for their personal use. This cash and carry retailer’s primary goal is to sell products at low prices, often at very high volumes.
The mission statement of Costco is: “To continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices”. Costco Wholesale Corporation’s USP or Unique selling proposition lies in being the largest American membership-only warehouse club.

Costco Wholesale Corporation Revenue :

US $126.2 billion – FY ending 3rd Sep 2017, (Sunday closest to Aug 31) (y-o-y growth 9%)
US $116.07 billion – FY ending 28th Aug, 2016  

Competitive Analysis of Costco Wholesale Corporation

The SWOT analysis for Costco Wholesale is presented below:
1. First mover advantage
2. Operational and supply chain efficiency.
3. Strong Brand value
4. Commitment to Quality
5. Broad Range of merchandise
6. Private label brand
1. Dependent on the operations in the U.S and Canada
2. Wafer thin profit margins
3. Unattractive displays with low convenience to customer.
4. Limited offering of Merchandize
1. International expansion
2. Increasing member base
1. Intense Competition
2. Fluctuations in Foreign Exchange Rate
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of Costco Wholesale Corporation


1. First mover advantage: Costco is the world’s first membership warehouse club. In 1983, the first Costco warehouse location was opened in Seattle (U.S.) and gradually Costco become the first company ever to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years. In 2017 Costco featured as the sixth most valuable retail brand in the world, with a brand value of over 16 billion U.S. dollars. A study by Statista estimates that Costco’s global revenue will cross US $167 billion by 2023, an increase from approximately 128 billion dollars in 2017. Costco was able to establish a dominant market with its first mover advantage, deduced primarily from economies of scale and given the colossal capital investment required for this kind of business, the threat of new entrants stands low. In the US, the major competitors operating membership warehouses are Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club, but BJ’s has a relatively lower spread in terms of locations with many of its store food courts being replaced by Dunkin' Donuts kiosks or shops.

2. Operational and supply chain efficiency: Costco’s secret sauce lies in keeping operational expenses very tight. This is primarily achieved by trimming down on overhead costs by virtually cutting down on all the frills and costs associated with conventional sellers including sales team, expensive locations, delivery, billing, lighting and accounts receivable. Lighting costs are minimized on sunny days, as most Costco warehouses operate with skylights. Costco also saves by not stocking extra bags or packing materials and customers are required to carry their own bags or use a shopping cart or empty merchandise shipping boxes. In this way they are able to pass on dramatic savings to their members. The goods are usually bulk-packaged and marketed primarily to large families and businesses. A conventional Costco warehouse carries on average 4,000 distinct products, while a comparable Walmart Retail outlet stocks approximately 140,000 products. If the wholesale price of a product is too high, Costco will refrain from stocking it. Costco’s supply chain is the concept of eliminating fingerprints on the product as they employ the cross dock distribution (depot) facility. Costco procures the lion’s share of its merchandise directly from the manufacturers and channelizes it through a network of cross-docking facilities which act as vendor consolidation points to transport products in packaged containers to the receiving kiosks. This process brings in freight volume and handling efficiencies, decimating redundant costs associated with conventional multiple-step distribution channels.

3. Strong Brand value: Costco featured on Rank #15 in the Global Fortune 500 list in 2017 and was the second largest global retailer in 2015, only after Walmart. In 2016, Costco was pegged as the world's largest retailer of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken, and wine. As of June 2018, Costco boasts of a strong 93.0 million membership community. Their member renewal rate was 90% in the U.S. and Canada and 87% on a worldwide basis in 2017. The majority of members renew within six months following their renewal date.

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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies

References used in Costco Wholesale Corporation Analysis Report

1. NASDAQ _ COST _ 2018 -

2. Annual Report 2017 Costco Wholesale -

3. Investor relations overview / Costco Wholesale Corporation -

4. About Costco -

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Costco Wholesale SWOT and PESTLE analysis has been conducted by Soumya Surya Adhikari and reviewed by senior analysts from Barakaat Consulting.

Copyright of Costco Wholesale SWOT and PESTLE Analysis is the property of Barakaat Consulting. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions and Disclaimer for usage guidelines.

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