Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco” or the “Company”) began operation in 1983 in Seattle, Washington. In October 1993, Costco merged with The Price Company, which had pioneered the membership warehouse concept in 1976, to form Price/Costco, Inc., a Delaware corporation. In January 1997, after the spin-off of most of its non-warehouse assets to Price Enterprises, Inc., the Company changed its name to Costco Companies, Inc. On August 30, 1999, the Company reincorporated from Delaware to Washington and changed its name to Costco Wholesale Corporation, which trades on the NASDAQ under the symbol “COST”.
Costco Wholesale Corporation operates an international chain of membership warehouses that carry quality, nationally branded and selected private label merchandise at substantially lower prices than are typically found at conventional wholesale or retail sources. The warehouses are designed to help small-to-medium-sized businesses reduce costs in purchasing for resale and for everyday business use. Individuals may also purchase for their personal needs. The Company's business is based upon a wide variety of product categories at very competitive prices. As of May 2015, the Company operated a chain of 673 warehouses, including 474 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 89 in Canada, 35 in Mexico, 26 in the United Kingdom, 20 in Japan, 11 in Korea, 10 in Taiwan, 7 in Australia, and 1 in Spain.