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Costco holds off on hiking membership fees, citing inflation

Customers bustle in-out of the busy Costco in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle
Posted at 8:41 AM, May 31, 2022

Costco Wholesale Corp. is holding off for now on raising its membership fees, said Bob Nelson, senior vice president of finance and investor relations, during a call with investors Thursday.

Earlier this year, the Issaquah, Washington-based warehouse retailer hinted it could hike its dues as early as this summer.

On average, Costco increases membership fees every five and a half years. The last price hike was in June 2017, when Costco raised its annual dues for Gold Star and Business members by $5, to $60. The Executive member price rose $10, to $120.

"As we approach this five-and-a-half-year mark [in November], there will be more discussions with [CEO Craig Jelinek], [President Ron Vachris] and the executive team, but for today, we have nothing more specific to report in terms of timing," Nelson said. "Given the current macro environment, the historically high inflation and the burden it's having on our members and all consumers in general, we think increasing our membership fee today, ahead of our typical timing, is not the right time."

The fee hikes would follow that of other major companies for subscriptions and services, such as Netflix, which raised prices in January, or Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc., which increased fees for its Prime service in March.

Read more of this story from the Business Journal.