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Costco is a membership-only warehouse club, dedicated to bringing its members the best possible prices on a wide selection of quality brand-name merchandise. With hundreds of locations worldwide, Costco provides a wide selection of merchandise, plus the convenience of specialty departments and exclusive member services, all designed to make your shopping experience a pleasurable one. As of July 2012, it is the second largest retailer in the United States, the seventh largest retailer in the world and the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States.
The company's first location, opened in 1976 under the Price Club name, was in a converted airplane hangar on Morena Boulevard in San Diego. Originally serving only small businesses, the company found it could achieve far greater buying clout by also serving a selected audience of non-business members. With that change, the growth of the warehouse club industry was off and running. In 1983, the first Costco warehouse location was opened in Seattle. Costco became the first company ever to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years. When Costco and Price Club merged in 1993, the combined company, operating under the name PriceCostco, had 206 locations generating $16 billion in annual sales.
Costco's operating philosophy has been simple. Keep costs down and pass the savings on to their members. Their large membership base and tremendous buying power, combined with a never-ending quest for efficiency, result in the best possible prices for the members. Since resuming the Costco name in 1997, the company has grown worldwide with total sales in recent fiscal years exceeding $64 billion. For additional information about Costco, download the Costco Story in a PDF format to learn more.