Costco Posts Biggest Year Ever, Sells 101M Rotisserie Chickens

Costco By the Numbers

The Costco shareholder meeting was full of impressive digits on everything from diamonds to sports memorabilia to pricey prime beef, underscoring a record year for the membership model retailer. After all, how many retailers carry rotisserie chickens for $4.99 alongside diamond rings for $170,000?

1. Costco boasts 59 million member households, 107 million cardholders, and $3.5 billion in membership fees each year.

2. 2020 saw one of its biggest increases in beer, wine and spirits, up 17% over last year.

3. Its fresh business flourished with produce up 16%; the meat department up 21% overall, with prime beef sales of $570 million and growing, up 34% from the previous year; and the service deli selling 101 million rotisserie chickens globally last year. Costco’s ability to maintain its price point on these browned birds and keep them in stock is largely thanks to its own poultry complex, which it opened in Fremont, Neb., in 2020, said Jelinek. The 432-acre site processes over 2 million chickens per week.

4. Even with no seating allowed, Costco’s food court sold 151 million hot dog and soda combos globally in 2020. And even though consumers are driving significantly less in a pandemic, its gasoline business did $14 billion in sales.

5. The company expanded its grocery online two-day business and same-day fresh delivery, as well as its Costco Treasure Hunt available online, which includes items like Japanese Wagyu eight 6-ounce fillets for $629.99. “You wouldn’t want to have a steady diet of that, I don't think,” Jelinek admitted. Another popular big-ticket meat item this holiday season: The prosciutto leg kit (12 pounds) for $219.99.

6. Costco’s nonfood Treasure Hunt online business features an array of unique items with hefty price tags, such as a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth for $64,000; a Ty Cobb-autographed Louisville slugger bat for $160,000; and a one-of-a-kind 1.5 carat diamond solitaire ring for $170,000.

7. Costco’s cash and short-term investments total $14 billion; its property and equipment, $22 billion; its long-term/short-term debt, $7 billion; and its stockholders’ equity, $14.8 billion.

By Jennifer Strailey on Jan. 22, 2021

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