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Costco Wholesale Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection


ISIN: US22160K1051 , WKN: 888351

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Description of the company

Our average warehouse space is approximately 145,000 square feet, with newer units slightly larger. Floor plans are designed for economy and efficiency in the use of selling space, the handling of merchandise, and the control of inventory. Because shoppers are attracted principally by the quality of merchandise and low prices, our warehouses are not elaborate. By strictly controlling the entrances and exits of our warehouses and using a membership format, we have inventory losses (shrinkage) well below those of typical retail operations. Our warehouses on average operate on a seven-day, 70-hour week. Gasoline operations generally have extended hours. Because the hours of operation are shorter than other retailers, and due to other efficiencies inherent in a warehouse-type operation, labor costs are lower relative to the volume of sales. Merchandise is generally stored on racks above the sales floor and displayed on pallets containing large quantities, reducing labor required. In general, with variations by country, our warehouses accept certain credit, including the Costco co-branded card, and debit cards, cash, and checks. Our strategy is to provide our members with a broad range of high-quality merchandise at prices we believe are consistently lower than elsewhere. We seek to limit items to fast-selling models, sizes, and colors. We carry an average of approximately 3,800 active stock keeping units (SKUs) per warehouse in our core warehouse business, significantly less than other broadline retailers. Many consumable products are offered for sale in case, carton, or multiple-pack quantities only. In keeping with our policy of member satisfaction, we generally accept returns of merchandise. On certain electronic items, we typically have a 90-day return policy and provide, free of charge, technical support services, as well as an extended warranty. Additional third-party warranty coverage is sold on certain electronic items. We offer merchandise in the following categories: • Foods (including dry foods, packaged foods, and groceries) • Sundries (including snack foods, candy, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and cleaning supplies) • Hardlines (including major appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, and garden and patio) • Fresh Foods (including meat, produce, deli, and bakery) • Softlines (including apparel and small appliances) • Ancillary (including gas stations and pharmacy) Ancillary businesses within or next to our warehouses provide expanded products and services, encouraging members to shop more frequently. These businesses include our gas stations, pharmacy, optical dispensing centers, food courts, and hearing-aid centers. We sell gasoline in all countries except Korea and France, with the number of warehouses with gas stations varying significantly by country. We operated 536, 508, and 472 gas stations at the end of 2017, 2016, and 2015, respectively. Our online businesses, which include e-commerce, business delivery, and travel, vary by country. In the U.S. and Canada, we offer all of our online businesses. We operate e-commerce websites in all countries except Japan, Australia, Spain, Iceland, and France. Online businesses provide our members additional products and services, many not found in our warehouses. Net sales for our online business were approximately 4% of our total net sales in 2017 and 2016, respectively, and 3% in 2015. We have direct buying relationships with many producers of national brand-name merchandise. We do not obtain a significant portion of merchandise from any one supplier. We generally have not experienced difficulty in obtaining sufficient quantities of merchandise and believe that if one or more of our current sources of supply became unavailable, we would be able to obtain alternative sources without substantial disruption of our business. We also purchase private-label merchandise, as long as quality and member demand are comparable and the value to our members is significant.
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