Among publicly owned retail stores, Costco is in a unique place. The store makes much of its income from membership fees. Though stock prices are dropping, quarterly sales results are strong — and Costco is making some adjustments to its offerings.
Costco’s quarterly results
Costco, publicly traded on Wall Street, recently released its quarterly results. The membership club reported an 11 percent increase in sales for the final quarter of 2010, resulting in sales of $20.9 billion. Membership fees accounted for another $426 million in income. Despite these profitable quarterly results, shares in Costco fell by about 3 percent. Traders cited decreased profitability from gasoline sales and a decrease in sales thanks to bad weather.
Taking overfishing off the menu
In addition to strong quarterly results, Costco has announced a few changes to its in-store offerings. Costco has indicated it will discontinue sales of any fish defined as “at risk” by the Marine Stewardship Council. Atlantic Cod, Atlantic Halibut, Chilean Sea Bass, Greenland Halibut, Grouper, Monkfish, Orange Roughy, Redfish, Shark, Skates, Rays, Swordfish and Bluefin Tuna are all on the list of wild fish that will no longer be offered. Farmed seafood will still be available at Costco stores.
Here comes the bride
In addition to taking over-fished seafood off the shelves at Costco, one other big change will be made in some stores. Pop-up bridal boutiques will be tested in a few Costco stores in California. These boutiques will be temporary, enclosed spaces in the Costco stores, offering wedding dresses in a cost range similar to David’s Bridal, $400 to $1200 per dress. These pop-up bridal boutiques, if they do well in California, will likely be expanded to all Costco stores within a few months. The bridal gowns will not be a permanent fixture, however. The boutiques will likely only be open during peak wedding shopping season, February through May.