Costco Wholesale is an American retail corporation that operates membership warehouse clubs.
This article provides a timeline of Costco spanning over four decades of the company's notable history and expansion into a multinational retailer.
Sol Price founds the Price Club in San Diego, opening the first warehouse in Morena Boulevard located in converted airplane hangars previously owned by Howard Hughes.
The warehouse sells items in bulk at discounted prices to small business owners.
Jim Sinegal and Jeffrey Brotman open the first Costco warehouse in Seattle on September 15th.
Sinegal had previously worked with Sol Price at FedMart.
The company opens two more locations in Portland and Spokane by the end of the year.
Costco goes public after reaching 17 warehouse locations nationwide and almost 2 million members.
The first Costco Business Center opens later that year in Lynnwood, Washington.
Price Club expands to Canada by opening a location in Montreal.
They also announce plans to open locations in Spain and Portugal through their Canadian operations.
Costco opens their first warehouse locations on the East Coast in New York and New Jersey.
Price Club forms a joint venture with Mexican retailer Comercial Mexicana to open their first warehouse in Mexico City.
Price Club is operating 206 warehouse locations while Costco reaches 107 units. The companies agree to a merger to combine their similar warehouse models under the PriceCostco name.
The Price family leaves PriceCostco to form a separate PriceSmart company focused on warehouses in Central America and the Caribbean.
Costco moves their corporate headquarters from Kirkland to a new dedicated campus in Issaquah, WA located next to a warehouse store.
Remaining Price Club locations are rebranded under the Costco brand.
The company also expands by opening their first locations in the Midwest in Michigan and Ohio.
Costco reaches sales of $43 billion from 413 warehouse locations worldwide.
They continue focusing on international growth, opening their first locations in South Korea and Taiwan.
The company surpasses $64 billion in sales from 488 warehouses.
Over 80% of items sold feature the Kirkland Signature private label.
Costco opens poultry production facilities in Nebraska to control quality and costs of their signature rotisserie chickens.
Reaches $89 billion in sales from 592 warehouse locations globally including the first store in Australia.
International locations account for 20% of sales.
Online sales site Costco.com establishes a separate division focused on small businesses.
Over 4 million people now have Costco memberships.
Costco warehouses rise to 634 units globally with membership reaching 71 million cardholders.
Sales exceed $100 billion.
Costco signs agreement with Alibaba Group to open an online store in China the following year, their first e-commerce operations in the country.
Reaches 686 total warehouses worldwide with sales surpassing $116 billion.
Over 75% of sales now come from membership fees.
Hits a milestone with over 90 million Costco membership cardholders globally.
After years of anticipation, Costco opens their first physical retail location in China located in Shanghai.
Warehouses also open in Spain, France, Iceland, and New Zealand.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts sales but accelerates growth of online operations and home delivery services.
E-commerce sales triple from the previous year.
Costco sales reach record levels at $196 billion supported by over 111 million members.
New warehouses open in Canada, Korea, China, and Taiwan.
Membership has expanded to 124.7 million people worldwide as Costco reaches over 800 warehouse units with additional locations across Asia and Europe.
33 new Costco warehouses opened in 2022 alone.
The company now operates 861 locations globally, employing over 300,000 people.
Sales expected to top $250 billion in coming years.