1. December 30, 2008
WAREHOUSE CLUB FOCUS Volume 12, Issue 276
• Ancillary, Member Services—5.
• Costco Cookbook, Almanac—9.
1 • Costco 10K Information—10.
For 12 years, your best source for information about the clubs.
Costco Fiscal Year Data
Each year, four issues of Warehouse Club Focus concentrate on club industry data that provides additional insight and
information into the operations of BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club. The issues appear from December to April and feature
Costco’s fiscal year information in December, calendar year industry sales and location data in January and BJ’s and
Sam’s fiscal year information in April.
Costco’s fiscal year ends in August and BJ’s and Sam’s fiscal years end in January. Costco typically files its annual report
(10K) with the Securities and Exchange Commission in November and BJ’s and Sam’s file in April. Therefore, WCF
reports on fiscal year data at different times. In this issue, Costco’s fiscal year information includes detailed sales data
from the most recent five years. This article contains two sections: data background and data explanation.
The charts on pages two and three provide detailed fiscal year information for Costco from 2004 to 2008. Most of the
information comes from Costco’s annual report (10K). However, some of the information is calculated by WCF using
corporately reported data. Both charts have a column titled CAGR which represents the average annual growth rate for a
particular line item from 2004 to 2008.
For example, from 2004 to 2008, Costco’s merchandise sales (the first line item in the chart on page two) increased from
$47.15 billion in 2004 to $70.98 billion in 2008. This represented average growth of 11% per year. There are a number of
line items that do not have an annualized growth rate because the growth rate would not apply, data was not available for
all five years or the data would be redundant.
The following is an explanation of the data found in each section of the charts on pages two and three:
Income (million) - The data in this section is from Costco’s income statement. The sales information includes all Costco
locations, except its Mexican clubs. Costco’s Mexican locations are operated as part of a joint venture with Mexican
retailer Controladora Comercial Mexicana. Costco owns 50% of the joint venture and under U.S. accounting principles, the
profit or loss from joint ventures is consolidated in the “other income, expense” line of a company’s income statement.
From 2004 to 2008, membership revenues exceeded net income. This is the key component of Costco’s (as well as BJ’s
and Sam’s) business model that sets it apart from its retail competitors. Costco’s gross margin dollars essentially cover
the company’s buying and operating expenses with membership fees, therefore, representing the bulk of its net profits.
Membership revenues grew at an average rate of 12% annually which is higher than the yearly growth rate for
merchandise sales (11%), operating income (9%) and net income (10%). This clearly shows that Costco’s business
model of low prices on high quality merchandise is resonating with existing and potential members.
Margins – This section includes merchandise, membership and overall gross margins. It also displays the percentage that
SGA expenses, operating income and net income represent of merchandise sales. From 2004 to 2008, Costco’s
merchandise gross margins remained within a tight 20 basis point range of 10.52% to 10.72%. Costco’s overall gross
margins, when membership is included, ranged from 12.56% to 12.76%.
3 December 30, 2008
Item Sales - This section provides a number of data points that provide color on the sales performance of an average
item at Costco. This information is calculated by WCF and does not include Mexican locations. The first figure lists the
number of SKUs in a typical Costco location (this data is gathered annually in December). The next figure is the average
SKU count from the past two years. The data in the next four rows is based on the average SKU count.
The merchandise sales figure used for this section does not include sales from Costco’s ancillary businesses, which
generated approximately $11.71 billion in
Fiscal Year ends August CAGR 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
fiscal 2008. In fiscal 2008, an average
item stocked in all Costco locations
5% 500 473 446 425 407
Average Clubs Open During Year
Yearly Sales per Avg Club (million) 5% $142 $133 $132 $122 $116
generated annual sales of $13.9 million.
Yearly WW Sales/Club (Annual Report) 4% $137 $130 $127 $120 $115
Yearly U.S. Sales per Club (Annual Report) n/a $132 $130 $124 $121
That same item generated weekly sales
4% $3.9 $3.4 $3.6 $3.5 $3.4
Yearly Operating Income per Club (million)
5% $2.7 $2.6 $2.5 $2.3 $2.2
Avg Weekly Sales per Club (million)
per location of $536.
4% $75.7 $65.4 $70.2 $66.7 $65.5
Avg Weekly Operating Inc./Club (thousand)
6% 77,106 72,779 68,180 63,940 61,299
Total Square Footage (thousand)
1% 142 141 140 139 139
Avg Square Foot per Club (thousand)
The next section of the chart provides
5% $976 $920 $920 $862 $813
Sales per Square Foot
estimated sales information for private
3% $27 $23 $25 $24 $24
Operating Income per Square Foot
45% $1,686 $1,240 $880 $542 $377
Annual Web Site Sales (million)
label and branded merchandise. In
7% 137,000 127,000 119,000 110,000 103,000
Total Employees (excluding Mexico)
December, 2008, Costco stocked 501
Merchandise Sales per Employee 3% $518,084 $496,753 $495,489 $471,473 $457,718
Operating Profit per Employee 2% $14,371 $12,666 $13,661 $13,400 $13,454
private label products, primarily under the
Mexico Division Employees 9,000 9,000 8,000 8,000 n/a
Kirkland Signature brand. Those
22% 23% 24% 25% 25%
Data From 20% 19% 19% 19% 20%
products represented 17.5% of sales with
Costco's 19% 21% 20% 20% 20%
Annual 10% 11% 12% 12% 13%
a typical private label product generating
Reports 12% 12% 11% 11% 11%
$796 in sales per week per location.
17% 14% 14% 13% 11%
8% $5,039 $4,879 $4,561 $4,015 $3,643
2% 12.8 12.0 12.3 12.1 12.1
Inventory Turnover per Year
Conversely, branded merchandise
Days in Gross Inventory 28.5 30.5 29.7 30.2 30.3
represents 82.5% of Costco’s
4% $9.7 $9.7 $9.4 $8.8 $8.4
Inventory per Club (million)
10% $5,225 $5,125 $4,581 $4,214 $3,600
Accounts Payable (million)
merchandise sales with a typical branded
A/P vs Inventory Percent 104% 103% 103% 102% 96%
product generating $501 in sales per
Business Renewal 92% 92% 92% 92% 92%
Group Renewal 86% 85% 85% 84% 84%
week per location. In developing and
4% 5,600 5,400 5,200 5,100 4,800
Paid Business (thousand)
introducing private label products, Costco
4% 4,050 3,800 3,600 3,500 3,495
Paid Supplemental Business (thousand)
Paid Consumer (thousand) 8% 20,200 18,600 17,300 16,200 15,000
clearly focuses on high volume
Free Supplemental Consumer (thousand) 6% 23,650 22,600 21,600 20,500 19,074
Total Cardholders (thousand) 6% 53,500 50,400 47,700 45,300 42,369
categories and merchandise.
n/a 2,800 2,700 2,600 n/a n/a
Mexican Cardholders (thousand)
n/a 56,300 53,100 50,300 n/a n/a
Worldwide Cardholders (thousand)
24% 7,630 6,331 5,200 4,300 3,270
Executive Members (thousand)
Sales Data – The information in this
17% 26% 23% 20% 17% 14%
Executive Members (% of paid members)
n/a 57% 52% 45% n/a n/a
Executive Members (% of sales)
section provides assorted data, including
1% 107,000 106,554 107,071 106,588 104,101
Average Cardholders per Club
the average size of a Costco location, as
4% $1,327 $1,252 $1,236 $1,145 $1,113
Average Annual Sales per Cardholder
6% $28 $26 $25 $24 $23
Average Annual Member Fees/Cardholder
reported in the company’s 10K, the
5% 451 429 401 374 368
yearly sales and operating income per
5% 496 472 442 414 405
One-Hour Photo 5% 504 480 450 423 414
club, weekly sales per club and sales and
Food Court 5% 506 482 452 427 418
Hearing Aid 15% 274 237 196 168 155
operating income per square foot.
-9% 7 8 9 10 10
Print and Copy Centers
9% 307 279 250 225 218
23% $11,711 $8,540 $8,019 $6,068 $5,139
Total Sales (thousand)
A typical Costco location generates
Merchandise Sales 13% 7% 14% 10% 13%
average annual sales of $137 million.
Membership Revenue 15% 10% 11% 12% 13%
SGA 11% 9% 14% 10% 12%
Based on an average club size of
Cost of Goods 12% 7% 14% 10% 13%
142,000 square feet, in fiscal 2008, the
Gross Margin 0% 0% -1% 0% 0%
Operating Income 22% -1% 10% 6% 20%
typical Costco location generated sales
Total Membership 6% 6% 5% 7% 2%
Warehouse Count 5% 6% 6% 4% 6%
of $976 per square foot. This represents
Return on Equity 14% 13% 12% 12% 12%
an annual increase of 5% since 2004.
Return on Assets 6% 6% 6% 6% 6%
12% $67.06 $61.75 $47.35 $43.12 $42.05
Stock Closing Price
Costco’s online business increased an
Price/Earnings Ratio 23 26 21 20 23
average of 45% annually from $377
Market Capitalization (millions) $29,791 $28,259 $22,744 $21,217 $20,289
Current Ratio 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.2
million in 2004 to $1.7 billion in 2008.
WCF Research, Costco Annual Reports
4 December 30, 2008
Employees – This section shows the number of employees that Costco reports in its 10K and the sales and operating
profits per employee.
Sales Percentage – The department sales percentage figures in this section are reported by Costco in its 10K. During
the fiscal 2004 to 2008 time period, the penetration for sundries decreased from 25% to 22% and the penetration for
softlines decreased from 13% to 10% while the penetration for fresh foods increased from 11% to 12% and the
penetration for ancillary increased from 11% to 17%.
Balance Sheet - This section provides relevant balance sheet information, including company-wide and club location
year-end inventory, inventory turnover per year, days in gross inventory and accounts payable data. Costco ended its
2008 fiscal year with $5.04 billion in inventory, which represented $9.7 million per club. In 2008, Costco turned its
inventory 12.8 times per year. The days in gross inventory figure represents the average inventory that a club has on
hand for a given period of time. Costco’s 2008 figure of 28.5 days states that Costco’s average club inventory of $9.7
million was sold in 28.5 days.
Membership – This section provides information about Costco’s renewal rates and the number of Costco members.
Costco reported the number of paid business and group members in its 10K report. WCF estimated the number of paid
supplemental business members and free supplemental consumer members. The end result is that Costco had
approximately 53.5 million cardholders at the end of its 2008 fiscal year. Included in that total are 7.6 million executive
members. These members pay a $100 annual membership fee and account for 26% of paid members and 57% of
overall sales. The average Costco cardholder spends $1,327 annually.
Ancillary Business – This section shows the number of locations that operate a particular ancillary business. Costco’s
ancillary revenues grew an average of 23% annually from $5.14 billion in fiscal 2004 to $11.71 billion in fiscal 2008.
Growth Rates – This section provides year-over-year growth rates for merchandise sales, membership revenues, SGA
expenses, cost of goods, gross margin, operating income, total cardholders and total club locations.
Financial – This section provides key financial ratios including return on equity (measures return on each dollar invested
by shareholders), return on assets (measure return on each dollar invested in assets), price/earnings ratio (provides
comparable business valuation measure), market capitalization (measure market value of the business) and current ratio
(measures financial soundness by comparing short term assets and liabilities).
5 December 30, 2008
Ancillary Businesses and Member Services
The concept of paid membership is critical to the success of BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club. The paid membership
program provides each club with a revenue stream that in most years is equal to its net income. The paid membership
format is designed to reinforce member loyalty and the perception that a bargain is being offered with lower prices. Paid
membership also discourages the casual shopper, who generally purchase fewer products, thereby reducing the
average transaction and making the clubs less efficient.
Club membership revenue strength and strong renewal rates (92% for Costco business, 86% for Costco consumer, 87%
for BJ’s business and 82% for BJ’s consumer) are not solely due to the money members save by buying merchandise at
BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club. The clubs continually try to enhance non-merchandise businesses and services that
provide additional reasons for members to renew their club membership. This article provides an overview of those in-
club ancillary businesses and out-of-the-box member service programs.
Ancillary Business Costco Sam's BJ's
In-Club Ancillary Businesses Banking x x
Car Wash x x
Communication Kiosks x x x
Computer Center x
In-club ancillary businesses operate inside the club locations or on the Electric Vehicle Charging Stations x
property and create a one-stop shopping experience that helps to increase Food Court x x x
Food Manufacturing x
member shopping frequency and loyalty. The chart on the right provides a Gasoline Stations x x x
Greeting Cards x
list of the ancillary businesses operated by BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club as Hearing Aid x x
well as fiscal year ancillary sales estimates. Muffler and Brake Service x
One-Hour Photo x x
Optical x x x
Please note that Costco’s ancillary business sales represent fiscal 2008 data Paint x
Pharmacy x x
ending August, 2008. Sam’s and BJ’s ancillary business sales represent Photo Service x
Print and Copy Centers x x
fiscal year data ending January, 2008 and do not include strong gasoline Propane x
sales that occurred after their fiscal years ended. The first issue of WCF in Tire Center x x x
Total Ancillary 14 11 10
2009 will include up-to-date ancillary business sales estimates for the 2008 Fiscal Merchandise Sales $70,977 $44,357 $8,815
calendar year period. The following is information about some of the in-club Fiscal Ancillary $11,711 $5,145 $661
Penetration 16.5% 11.6% 7.5%
ancillary businesses operated by BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club. WCF Research, Club Web Sites, Club Annual Reports.
Car Wash – Costco and Sam’s Club are the only clubs that operate a car wash business. Sam’s Club opened its first
car wash in December, 2003 in Chandler, Arizona. Sam’s operates both tunnel and in-bay automatic carwash facilities.
Costco’s first carwash was opened in Seattle, Washington. Costco uses a conveyer exterior car wash unit.
Computer Center – In its Tukwila, Washington location, Costco operates a computer center. The facility was located
next to the print and copy center and offered the following computer services: upgrades, diagnostics and repairs,
backups and virus removal.
Food Court – Price Club, which created the club industry with its first location in San Diego, California in 1976,
originated the industry’s food court concept. The following story explains how the first hot dog stand was created.
While working at Price Club, Richard Libenson, who was primarily responsible for creating the warehouse club
merchandising concept, and another Price Club executive, visited the first location, a converted airplane hanger, before
it was opened. Over a period of time, they mapped out the merchandising strategy that they would use when the club
was opened. During that time, they recounted where they grew up.
Libenson grew up near New York City and remembered a hot dog vendor in the area who sold the best tasting hot dogs
he ever had. The other executive grew up in New England and caddied at a local golf course called the Blue Hill Country
Club. He remembered how much he liked the kosher hot dogs that were sold at the golf club. The idea was born to have
a hot dog cart with an umbrella stationed outside the club. Approximately two years later, Price Club struck a deal with
Hebrew National to sell hot dogs at Price Club locations. Since that time, the concept has been developed and
enhanced by each club operator, but each one still sells hot dogs.
Gasoline Stations – The gasoline business provides the club industry with three primary benefits. First, club gasoline
stations offer another reason for members to renew. According to an April 14, 2008 article in Supermarket News, Sandy
Skrovan, senior vice president at TNS Retail Forward, said, “In a survey, a third of Sam’s Club members said they would
renew their membership just to get the discount on gasoline.”
Secondly, gasoline stations produce incremental sales. Initially, members who purchase gasoline tend to also buy daily
SKUs like milk, bread and eggs inside the location. However, purchase patterns change as members begin to plan their
shopping trips to include both gasoline and other purchases inside the club location increasing shopping frequency and
6 December 30, 2008
Third, the gasoline business reinforces the value proposition
Membership and Services Costco Sam's BJ's
offered by BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club. Whether gasoline
Consumer Membership $50 $40 $45
Business Membership $50 $35 $45
prices are rising or falling, the clubs will almost always offer a
Premium Membership $100 $100 $80
Business Renewal Rates 92% n/a 87%
value compared to local gasoline station competitors. In
Consumer Renewal Rates 86% n/a 82%
general, club gasoline stations tend to be very busy. Since
Total Cardholders 53,500,000 47,286,000 8,774,000
Premium Members 7,630,000 n/a n/a
the clubs sell so much gasoline, they buy product at current
Average Cardholders per Club 107,000 80,830 50,281
Average Annual Sales per Cardholder $1,327 $938 $1,005
market prices. In the case of falling gasoline prices, the clubs
Average Membership Fee per Cardholder $28 $22 $22
experience higher gross margins. Local competitors may be
401K Plans x
Commercial Insurance x x
selling gasoline at prices based on older, higher priced
Conferencing, Communication Solutions x
product. The clubs will be selling gasoline based on new,
Credit Card Processing x x x
Export Sales x x x
lower priced product. In a falling price situation, the clubs
Payroll Processing x
Printing Service - Kinkos x
can make their full margin and still be the market leader.
Shipping Service - Fedex x
Small Business Dental Insurance x (CA, HI, OR, WA)
Small Business Health Insurance x (CA, HI, OR, WA) x
In the case of rising gasoline prices, the clubs experience
Web Site Design, Hosting x x
Total Business Services 9 7 2
lower gross margins. Local competitors may be selling
Boat Buying x x x
Brinks Home Security x
gasoline at prices based on older, lower priced product, while
Custom Built Sheds x
the clubs are selling gasoline based on newer, higher priced
Electronic Installation x x
Healthcare Discounts, Medical Savings x
product. To stay competitive, the clubs match or beat the
Home Equity Financing x
Homeowner, Renter Insurance x x x
prices of the local competitors even in times of rising prices.
Identity Guard x
Individual and Family Dental x (CA)
Individual and Family Health Insurance x (CA)
Muffler and Brake Service – BJ’s is the only club to offer
Medicare Part D/Prescription Discount x x
Mortgage Service x
muffler and brake service in some of its locations. The
Online Tickets x x
business is split between two operators, Tuffy Auto Service
Pet Insurance x
Real Estate Agent Service x
based in Pennsylvania and Monro Muffler Brake based in
ShareBuilder Online Investing x
Total Home Services 12 6 5
New York. Both companies lease space from BJ’s, install
2% Reward x x x
Automobile Financing, Refinancing x x x
tires purchased at BJ’s and offer auto services to non-BJ’s
Automobile Insurance x x x
Automobile Sales x x x
Car Rental x x x
Check Printing x x
Computer Service x
Out-of-the-Box Member Services
Embroidery x (Canada) x x
Home Improvement/Kiosk Program x x
Life Insurance x (Canada) x
These member services are primarily “out-of-the-box”
Mexico Travel Auto Insurance x
High Yield Money Market Accounts, CDs x
programs, which means although they can be marketed in a
Roadside Assistance x x
club location or on a club web site, the actual transaction and
Service Agreements/Extended Warranty x x
service will occur at the member’s business or residence.
Travel x x x
Visa (BJ's), American Express (Costco) x x
Total Home, Business Services 15 12 10
Total Member Services 36 25 17
The chart on the left includes current membership rates, the
As of January, 2009. WCF Research, Company Web Sites. Some Membership Data is Estimated.
number of paid, supplemental and free cardholders (some of
the data is estimated), the average number of cardholders at each location, the average sales and membership fees per
cardholder and a current list of each club’s member services. The following is information about some of the member
services offered by BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club.
Brinks Home Security – BJ’s has partnered with Brinks to offer members a discounted security system for their home.
BJ’s members who purchase a Brinks system are eligible for a reduced installation fee of $49, free installation of a
second keypad and a $50 BJ’s gift card ($100 gift card for its higher priced rewards members).
Business Communication Solutions – Costco and Accessline Communications offers two types of business
communication products: a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) digital phone system and a suite of communication
services for companies who already own a phone system. The VoIP system includes a fully featured phone system, one
desk phone, unlimited local calling and 3,000 monthly long distance minutes, at no cost, for the first year. The phone
system features include more than 50 options such as call waiting, call forwarding, call holding, music on hold,
mailboxes and comfort noise.
The discounted suite of communication services include: conference calling, a toll free number, a web-based fax service,
a virtual receptionist that directs calls and takes messages, a follow-me service that forwards messages and a fully
featured voice mail system.
Business Health and Dental Insurance – Costco executive small business members in Washington, Hawaii, California
and Oregon are eligible for Costco’s affordably priced comprehensive health care and dental plan. Members can
choose from a wide range of primary care physicians, as well as a varied package of benefits. Plan administrators differ
7 December 30, 2008
Co-Branded Visa Card and BJ’s Bucks – The co-branded Visa/BJ’s credit card offers members a faster way to earn
purchase rewards called BJ’s Bucks. Members who use the card at BJ’s receive two points for every dollar spent on
eligible items. Members who use the card elsewhere receive one point for every dollar spent on eligible items.
Members automatically receive 1,000 bonus points after their first purchase. For every 2,000 points a member
accumulates, BJ’s will automatically send a $20 gift certificate to be used only at BJ’s. Members will also be able to use
the card as their BJ’s membership and will be able to use Visa’s contactless payment system called Visa payWave.
Custom Built Sheds – In a partnership with Quality Outdoor Structures, BJ’s offers members customized sheds that
include the following extra options at no additional cost: soffit vents, single-hung window, 7/12 roof pitch and a 4.5-foot
wide double door. Pricing includes delivery and on-site installation. The program includes a financing option as well as
a 25-year warranty. This service is not offered in all states.
Home Improvement – BJ’s offers a home improvement service from the Home Service Store ®. The program is
marketed via kiosks inside club locations and on the company’s web site. The service offers a free in-home consultation
and estimate, project guidance and assurances that the work will be completed by a trained, certified professional.
Interior work includes kitchen and bathroom revitalization, carpeting, flooring and basement finishing. Exterior work
includes decks and fences, siding, windows and doors, roofing and gutter systems.
Identity Protection – Costco and Identity Guard offer two programs that help members protect their identity. Both
programs, CREDITPROTECTX3 and Total Protection, offer credit bureau monitoring and a credit report that provides
information compiled from Equifax ®, Experian ® and TransUnion ®. However, CREDITPROTECTX3 also includes a
monthly credit report and Total Protection also includes a quarterly credit update, Internet surveillance and public
records report and monitoring.
Mexican Auto Travel Insurance – For business and consumer members traveling to Mexico, Costco offers discounted
automobile insurance rates through Bonita West Mexico Insurance Services. Executive members receive discounts that
are greater than those for non-executive members. Insurance can be purchased online and the program includes term
lengths of one day to a full year, a choice of limits for medical coverage and liability, comprehensive and collision
insurance up to $60,000 and options including collision, total theft, bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses,
legal defense and travel assistance.
8 December 30, 2008
Pet Insurance – In a partnership with Insurance Answer Center, Sam’s members are eligible for a 5% discount on their
annual pet insurance premium. The program enables members to take their pet to any veterinarian nationwide.
Payroll Processing – The program is administered by Intuit Payroll Services. Costco business members can process
their entire payroll using one of three services: Intuit online payroll, QuickBooks ® payroll assist where the user cuts
payroll checks and Intuit specialists handle tax deposits and filings and QuickBooks ® enhanced payroll where the user
manages payroll, tax deposits and filings.
Service Agreements – Sam’s and NEW offer members a no deductible, no hidden fee extended service/warranty
program. The program begins when the manufacturer warranty ends and covers items powered by batteries, fuel,
electricity and mechanical power. The program also covers watches and jewelry. According to a March 4, 2008 press
release, NEW was named “Supplier of the Year” by Sam’s member benefits unit. NEW has been offering extended
service plans and product support to Sam’s Club members since 1991.
Shipping and Printing Services – Sam’s partnered with FedEx to offer business members a new printing and shipping
service. Sam’s Club members are eligible to receive up to a 21% discount on select FedEx express services, up to a
15% discount on select FedEx ground services and up to a 20% discount on select FedEx Kinko’s printing services.
Travel – Expedia is Sam’s exclusive provider of travel bookings. Sam’s Club members using the company’s online
travel service will access Expedia’s assortment of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, attractions and
services. Sam’s vice president of membership card and services strategy said, “At Sam’s Club, our sole purpose is to
provide our members the best product and service at the best price. This partnership with Expedia allows us to achieve
that objective and to also provide our members the best selection and world class customer service for travel and
entertainment booking. This is a winning solution for all parties and most importantly … Sam’s Club wins by deepening
our ability to meet our member needs and Expedia wins by expanding its customer base.”
Honest Tea’s Sustainable Package
Packaging Design – December, 2008
Honest Beverages has been manufacturing and selling organic tea since 1998 and by 2002, it was the best selling
bottled tea brand in the natural food channel. Sam’s Club was selling a 24-count variety package of Honest Kids organic
drinks (an Honest Beverages product line). The product packaging included three eight-count cartons shrink wrapped
Sam’s Club wanted a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly and shelf-appealing package and Honest Beverages
turned to Georgia-Pacific and its design subsidiary, Color-Box. Seth Goldman, chief executive officer of Honest Tea,
said, “If you do it right, you should be able to make the package more attractive and sustainable. We took a big step
back to look at packaging.”
Georgia-Pacific and Color-Box analyzed Honest Beverages’ entire supply chain including design, material optimization,
shelf impact, line productivity, material handling and distribution. The new package features a “litho-laminated B flute
box” and six-color aqueous exterior. The new 24-count box is 41% lighter, made with 35% post-consumer waste and
the box handle is made with 45% post consumer waste.
Sam’s Sustainable Symbol
Company Web Site – December, 2008
Sam’s Club created a symbol (see picture below on the left) that identifies products that are environmentally-friendly.
The symbol will appear on products that have been recognized by a third party
organization or have taken steps to be better for the environment but do not have a
certifying organization available for their product or industry. Sam’s web site states,
“When you see this symbol on a Sam’s Club product, it means that product has taken a
step toward being more environmentally responsible in the way it was created, processed
The third party sustainable organizations include: Fair Trade Certified, Marine Stewardship
Council, Aquaculture Certification Council, Energy Star Certified, USDA Organic Certified,
Forest Stewardship Council, WaterSense Certified and Carbon Neutral Certified.
9. CLUB NEWS
9 December 30, 2008
Costco’s Household Almanac and Cookbook
WCF Research – December, 2008
2008 Household Almanac – Costco recently released the second edition of its Household Almanac. The book replaces
the annual Vendor Collection book. In the publisher section, Ginnie Roeglin, senior vice president of ecommerce and
publishing at Costco, said, “Brought to you through the support of our valued vendors, the Almanac offers tips, how-to’s
and information on hundreds of topics related to the products you can find at Costco.” The 2008 Household Almanac
can be viewed online by clicking The Costco Connection link at the bottom of Costco’s web site, www.costco.com.
The book includes eleven chapters: sight and sound, guide to computing, the HDTV guide, office basics, home project
planner, home essentials, bed, bath and laundry, travel and education, auto and garage, for your health and tips on
nutrition. The following are observations from the book:
Sight and Sound – This chapter includes a guide to storing and using digital photos, ten essential tips on taking great
digital photographs (sponsored by Canon), options for using an iPod in a car (sponsored by Belkin) and a section
explaining what Bluetooth technology is about (sponsored by Motorola).
Office Basics – This chapter includes primers about choosing the correct office chair (sponsored by True Designs),
surveillance techniques to protect your business and home (sponsored by Lorex) and the benefits of printing labels
(sponsored by Avery Dennison).
Auto and Garage – This chapter includes articles about car battery basics (sponsored by Kirkland Signature), jump
starting a dead battery, an overview of motor oil (sponsored by Chevron), ideas to spruce up a garage (sponsored by
Whalen Storage) and tire care tips.
For Your Health – This chapter includes articles about the sun and your skin (sponsored by Olay), the healing power of
oats (sponsored by Aveeno), skin care made simple (sponsored by Borghese), the perfect home haircut (sponsored by
Conair), your teeth and your overall health (sponsored by Sonicare) and choosing the right diaper (sponsored by
Full Page Advertisements – The Household Almanac includes a number of full page advertisements from Michelin
(tires), Sony (electronics), Dust-Off (compressed gas duster), Sealy (mattresses), Sharp (electronics) and Nature Made
2008 Costco Cookbook – The seventh edition of Costco’s cookbook is called In the Kitchen: The Costco Way. In the
publisher section, Roeglin said, “We’ve asked suppliers to develop recipes that showcase their products that we sell at
Costco. We have also included recipes from many of our favorite celebrity chefs such as Sandra Lee, Martha Stewart,
Ina Gartner and Paula Deen.” In the Kitchen: The Costco Way can be viewed online by clicking The Costco Connection
link at the bottom of Costco’s web site, www.costco.com.
The 2008 edition includes 278 recipes (compared to 287 in the 2007 edition). There are nine recipe categories: health
dishes (27 recipes), breakfast (12 recipes), appetizers (24 recipes), salads and soups (29 recipes), side dishes (14
recipes), chef’s choice (31 recipes) entrees (88 recipes), desserts (45 recipes) and beverages (eight recipes). The
following are observations from the book:
Health Dishes – This section includes recipes such as citrus herb roasted chicken by Coleman Organic, citrus walnut
pasta salad by the California Walnut Commission, fruit kabobs with cinnamon cream by Divine Flavor and peach
shortcake by Fowler Packing.
Side Dishes – This section offers recipes including four-herb Parisian carrot salad by Grimmway Farms, vegetable stir
fry by Kirkland Signature and Gourmet Dining, artichoke jalapeno potato pancakes by Reser’s Fine Foods, bacon and
green bean casserole deluxe by Kirkland Signature and Hormel and scalloped potatoes by Tillamook.
Entrees – This section includes recipes such as Sunday dinner pot roast by McCormick, mini meatloaf burgers by Heinz,
marinated grilled salmon with sautéed oranges by Sunkist, dilled salmon cakes by Quaker, honey mustard salmon by
Hellmann’s, killer salmon by Monster Energy drink, baked ziti by New York Style Sausage Company and king crab
fettuccine by Harbor Seafood.
Desserts – This section includes recipes such as fruitables orange passion pudding delight by Apple & Eve, apple and
pear crispy by Chelan Fresh, chocolate peanut butter mousse pie by Eagle Brand and Jif, peanut butter oatmeal cookies
by Skippy and easy Oreo truffles by Kraft Foods.
10 December 30, 2008
WCF’s business is the warehouse club industry. To that end, WCF is constantly accumulating
information about the industry via phone conversations, warehouse visits, industry publications and
manufacturer meetings. This section is WCF’s attempt to disseminate that information to the club
industry in an ethical and protective manner.
On page nine of the December 16, 2008 issue of Warehouse Club Focus, the Email address for Matt Delly of
Cleveland Research was incorrectly typed. The correct Email address is: email@example.com.
According to a December 9, 2008 press release, Costco named Jeff Raikes to its board of directors. Raikes is chief
executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, Raikes was a senior member of Microsoft’s
executive team and spent 25 years at the software company. Jeff Brotman, chairman of the board of directors, said,
“We are very pleased to welcome Jeff as a new member of our board. Not only does Jeff bring over 25 years of
private sector experience, he also brings his reputation as a trusted and respected leader.”
According to a December 24, 2008 report from Shanghai Business Daily, Sam’s Club will open its fourth location in
China in 2009. The location will be in Shanghai’s Pudong district.
According to a December 24, 2008 press release from Newswire Today, Costco locations in the Midwest stock a
four-ounce pre-sliced package of Iberico de bellota ham that is imported from Spain. Iberico de bellota ham is
manufactured by Embutidos Fermin who received USDA import approval a year ago. The ham is produced by
feeding Iberico pigs acorns and the result is a high-end healthy product used by upscale restaurants and gourmet
According to a December 24, 2008 report from Ireland’s Fermanagh Herald, in 2009, Sam’s will begin selling a
oakwood smoked cheddar cheese from Fivemiletown Creamery, which is located in Northern Ireland. Shawn
Baldwin, vice president of merchandising at Sam’s Club, said, “This Irish cheddar is one of the best gourmet
cheeses available, and we continue to see increasing demand from our members in the United States for fine foods
like this to be incorporated into other dishes or as an appetizer.”
According to Costco’s 2008 annual report, the average Costco location generated annual sales of $137 million or
$2.6 million per week. Costco had two locations with sales exceeding $300 million annually, 11 locations
approaching $300 million in sales annually and 52 locations exceeding $200 million in sales annually.
According to Costco’s 2008 annual report, Costco’s six-unit business center operation is performing well and the
company is evaluating growth opportunities in several metropolitan markets.
According to Costco’s 2008 annual report, fiscal 2008 web site sales were $1.7 billion and the company expects its
online business to grow to $5.0 billion in the next several years.
Costco’s web site, www.costco.com, is selling two-package sell units of four Kirkland Signature private label snack
SKUs. The price points include shipping and handling. The items include two 4-pound bags of trail mix for $24.99,
two 3-pound bags of whole almonds for $26.99, two 2.5-pound jars of whole fancy grade cashews for $34.99 and
two 2.5-pound jars of extra fancy grade mixed nuts for $32.99.
BJ’s announced the election of Christine Courmoyer to its board of directors. Courmoyer is president and chief
executive officer of Picis, Inc., a Massachusetts-based provider of software solutions for automating hospital
documentation and business practices. Herbert Zarkin, chairman of the board of directors, said, “Chris brings a
wealth of experience in information technology and will be a tremendous asset to BJ’s management team as we
move forward in our multi-year plan to upgrade and replace many of our technology reporting systems.”
Warehouse Club Focus (ISSN: 1533-6816) is published twice a month by HHC Publishing, Inc. The annual subscription rate for twenty
-four issues is $479 (payable in U.S. currency) and delivery can be by mail or email. HHC Publishing, Inc. accepts Visa, MasterCard
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The information in Warehouse Club Focus is based on sources believed to be reliable and, while extensive efforts are made to assure
its accuracy, no guarantee can be made. The opinions expressed are merely the opinions of Warehouse Club Focus and those
opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the companies covered by the publication. Warehouse Club Focus is not endorsed
or supported by the companies covered in the publication nor is any product endorsement implied. Copyright 1997 – 2008, HHC