Does Walmart Own Costco? (Not What You Think)

Costco seems like the same type of store as the Walmart-owned Sam’s Club with its wholesale goods and membership-only shopping.

They even look alike in many ways, from their store setup to their product line and pricing. These similarities have a lot of people wondering if Walmart owns Costco. Here is what I discovered!

Does Walmart Own Costco?

Walmart does not own Costco Wholesalers. In fact, Costco is Walmart’s biggest competitor as the second biggest retail corporation in the United States. Costco is not owned by a single person but is owned by a multinational company managed by a board of directors and public stockholders.

To learn more about the differences and the rivalry between Walmart and Costco, keep on reading!

Who Are Costco’s Main Competitors?

As previously stated, Costco is Walmart’s main competitor. And the same goes for Costco as their main competitor is Walmart. However, both Costco and Walmart share another competitor, which is Target.

Costco considers Target to be a competitor due to its higher dividend yield of 2.1%. This beat both Costco and Walmart’s dividends of 0.86% and 1.78%, respectively.

Target has an inventory turnover rate of five, while Walmart’s is eight, and Costco’s is 12. This means that Costco outsells both Walmart and Target.

Also, in 2020, Target had a net income of $2.9 billion, Costco’s was $3.7 billion, and Walmart had a net income of $14.9 billion. But Costco has another competitor, albeit a smaller one.

The Differences Between Walmart’s Sam’s Club and Costco

Although the three stores have many similarities, there are some differences that may be important to note.

For example, Costco’s cost is $60 for the Gold Star membership and $120 for an Executive membership.

A membership at Sam’s Club will cost just $45 per year for the club level and $100 for the Plus membership. Some other differences include:

  • Costco generates three times the sales as Sam’s Club.
  • Costco has been growing faster than Sam’s Club.
  • Costco has close to 200 more stores than Sam’s Club.
  • Costco has larger stores at an average of 146,000 square feet versus the average Sam’s Club of 133,000.
  • Costco is a publicly-traded company, but Sam’s Club is a subsidiary of Walmart.
  • Most shoppers choose where to shop depending on which option is closer to their home.
  • Sam’s Club has more name brands.
  • Sam’s Club has more stores in the United States than Costco.
  • The prices at Costco are just a bit cheaper than Sam’s Club or Walmart.

What About BJ’s Wholesale?

BJ’s Wholesale is another competitor of Costco, although their net income is a lot lower at only $187 million.

That is just one of the differences between the two, but it is a big indicator that Costco is a better place to shop. Here are some other differences to note:

  • According to Consumer Reports, Costco ranks higher in prices and selection.
  • BJ’s has a Dunkin’ Donuts instead of a food court.
  • BJ’s has self-checkout lanes, so customers do not have to wait in line as long
  • BJ’s membership is $55, which is $5 cheaper than Costco’s membership.
  • Costco does not label their aisles and has randomly placed items, while BJ’s aisles are labeled and organized better.
  • Costco has a wider variety and a better selection of items.
  • Costco’s food court has had the same low prices on food. You can get a hotdog and soft drink for $1.50 and a piece of pizza for under $2.

To learn more, you can see our other posts on the companies that Walmart owns, Walmart’s competitive advantages, why Walmart is so cheap, and whether or not Walmart is owned by China.

One Final Note

Regardless of who owns Costco, they seem to be the best choice for wholesale items in most cases. Although Walmart (also known to many as Wally World) has a bigger selection and more stores, their Sam’s Club has neither. You will get much lower prices at Costco than you can get at Walmart, but you have to buy in bulk.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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