Costco began operations in 1983 in Seattle, WA. In October 1993, Costco merged with The Price Company, which in 1976, pioneered the membership warehouse concept.

A publicly traded company, Costco's philosophy is to sell high-quality nationally branded merchandise, as well as its own private label. The business is based on high volume and rapid inventory turnover — offering a limited assortment of merchandise in a wide variety of product categories.

Headquartered in Issaquah, WA, the firm includes 411 membership warehouses in 36 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, serving 38 million customers a day.

Costco is the seventh-largest U.S. retailer with sales in 2002 of $37.98 billion, is the fifth-largest food retailer, and has 100,000+ employees.


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