Costco by the Numbers: 22 Surprising Stats

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Costco is the nation's third-largest retailer, behind only Walmart and Kroger in sales, according to the National Retail Federation. The company's net sales topped a whopping $116 billion in 2016, up nearly $20 billion in just four years. But those aren't the only impressive numbers associated with everybody's favorite warehouse club. From rotisserie chickens to giant stuffed bears, there are plenty of eye-popping facts and figures about Costco.

Costco Wholesale showing a large influx of shoppers, creating long checkout lines
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741: COSTCO STORES WORLDWIDE

As of September, this includes 514 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico, 97 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, and 26 in Japan. There's even a Costco in Iceland; 1 in 8 Icelanders signed up for membership before it even opened its doors, according to Quartz.

Costco Gold Card
Photo credit: Courtesy of costco.com

88.9 MILLION: CARDHOLDERS

Most cardholders in this May figure are basic Gold Card members, paying $60 a year. Executive members -- 39 percent of Costco's paid cardholders at the end of 2016 -- pay $120 and can get a 2 percent reward on certain purchases up to $1,000 a year.

Costco cart in checkout area
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$0: COMPANY ADVERTISING BUDGET

The club sends direct mail and coupons to existing members, but spends zilch on marketing itself to the larger public. In contrast, Amazon spent more than $7 billion on marketing in 2016, while Walmart spent around $3 billion, The Motley Fool notes.

aisle at Costco
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144,500 SQUARE FEET: SIZE OF AVERAGE STORE

The average Costco warehouse store is comparable in footprint to a city block in Manhattan. The smallest Costco is 73,000 square feet, and the largest is 205,000. Costco's major rival, Sam's Club, builds slightly smaller at an average 136,000 square feet.

cashier scanning food and stocking them on trolley at check out counter inside Costco
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214,000: FULL- AND PART-TIME EMPLOYEES

By all accounts, Costco employees -- including 143,000 U.S. workers -- are a happy bunch: Turnover rate is only 5 percent for employees of over a year, according to Business Insider; it's more like 60 percent for retail overall, according to Fortune.

aisle of bottles in wine section of Costco store
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4,000: PRODUCTS AT A TYPICAL COSTCO

This might sound like a lot, but consider this: The average Walmart Supercenter usually carries around 120,000 products, according to Slate.

rotisserie chicken on wooden serving tray with herbs and rosemary
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76 MILLION: ROTISSERIE CHICKENS SOLD ANNUALLY

The 3-pound birds are fully cooked and seasoned, and they sell just $5 -- cheaper than at most supermarkets. Costco loses money by keeping the price so low.

Costco hot dog
Photo credit: #8282 Costco hot dog with mustard, onions, and relish by Nemo's great uncle (CC BY-NC-SA)

100 MILLION: HOT DOGS SOLD ANNUALLY

It's more than five times the number of hot dogs the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says baseball fans ate during the 2016 Major League Baseball season. Costco has kept the price of a hot dog and soda at $1.50 since the mid-1980s.

Costco Wholesale storefront with customers entering
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$100,000: AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME OF MEMBERS

Costco shoppers are much wealthier than the typical big-box-store customer. Household income for the average Walmart shopper is a bit over $56,000, according to Business Insider; the number is around $65,000 for Target shoppers, according to PYMNTS.

checkout at Costco
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$13: MINIMUM HOURLY WAGE OF EMPLOYEES

Costco's lowest wage jumped in March 2016, and its full-time Costco workers can get up to a wage of around $22.50 an hour in about four years, the company says. In comparison, Walmart's base wage is $9 to $10.

Kirkland Signature Ultra Soft Bath Tissue
Photo credit: Courtesy of costco.com

20: PERCENTAGE OF KIRKLAND PRODUCTS

Among the one-fifth of the warehouse club's stores turned over to its private Kirkland Signature label, one of the best sellers is toilet paper: Costco sells more than $400 million worth of it annually, for nearly 0.4 percent of total revenue.

checkout at Costco
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12: TIMES INVENTORY TURNS OVER ANNUALLY

Turnover means there are always new products for members to browse, even if they go in monthly. It also means Costco doesn't have to rely on its own capital to finance inventory, The Motley Fool points out.

Round Brilliant Diamond Platinum Solitaire Ring
Photo credit: Courtesy of costco.com

$419,999.99: PRICE OF MOST EXPENSIVE DIAMOND RING

This Size 7 platinum band available on Costco.com in September features a near-colorless 10-carat round diamond, and its appraised value is more than $658,000, according to the International Gemological Institute.

signature Tiffany blue box on the red velvet background
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$19.3 MILLION: HOW MUCH COSTCO OWES TIFFANY & CO.

Speaking of rings, this is how much a U.S. district court judge has ruled Costco owes Tiffany & Co. for describing some of its rings using the Tiffany name. Costco has argued it was using the term generically.

new cars for sale at car dealership
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3,000: CAR DEALERSHIPS COSTCO PARTNERS WITH

Costco sold 465,000 cars -- new and pre-owned -- through its no-haggle auto-buying program in 2015, ranking it alongside the top dealership groups in the nation.

Costco Wholesale Warehouse Fruits and vegetables in cart
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75: PERCENT OF 'TRIGGER' PURCHASES

Costco classifies certain products as "triggers" -- that is, items members buy repeatedly and use every day, including paper towels and light bulbs. They are positioned strategically around the store in hopes customers will make impulse buys on the way to finding them.

Costco Wholesale with row of big screen, smart TVs display on shelves and on flatbed cart
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90: DAYS TO RETURN ELECTRONICS

Televisions, major appliances including freezers and dishwashers, and the like get a limited time to come back if they don't work out. For almost everything else, Costco has one of the most generous return policies in the retail world: a full refund at any time.

female patient being reassured by doctor in hospital room
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88: PERCENT OF EMPLOYEES WITH HEALTH BENEFITS

In addition to health benefits, many employees are eligible for a 401(k) match, dependent care assistance, a counseling program, short- and long-term disability, life insurance, employee stock purchasing, and a health-care reimbursement account.

Costco station gas pump
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508: COSTCO GAS STATIONS

While cost varies significantly by location, gas is typically 6 to 12 cents cheaper a gallon if members fill up at Costco stations, compared with competitors.

truck loading docks at Costco
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600: TRUCKLOAD DELIVERIES ELIMINATED ANNUALLY

By changing the shape of its Kirkland Signature cashew containers to square from round some years back, the warehouse club could fit 432 jars on a pallet, up from 288.

gigantic plush bears on display for sale at Costco
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93: INCHES IN HEIGHT OF INFAMOUS GIANT TEDDY BEAR

This plush show-stopper weighs 48.5 pounds, or around as much as an average 6-year-old boy. For shoppers who don't have the space for the extra-large version, Costco also sells a 53-inch bear and a 25-inch bear.

Costco web page under magnifying glass
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4: PERCENTAGE OF E-COMMERCE NET SALES

While the company says it wants to increase online sales -- which rose one percentage point from 3 percent in 2015 -- it insists its core business model depends on getting shoppers inside its bricks-and-mortar warehouses, Business Insider says.

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