Costco Wholesale Corporation: Market Expansion and Global Strategy
In 2015, Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) was ranked as one of the world's largest global retailers based on sales revenue, second only to Walmart Inc. It had successfully expanded into eight international markets: Canada, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Mexico, Taiwan, Australia, and the United Kingdom, managing to grow despite the turbulent economic conditions prevalent in these countries. Costco challenged stereotypes and employed unconventional business strategies to position itself as a leading transnational retailer. Costco's business model was crucial to the company's financial success and expansion over the years. Key company success factors included its membership-based operating model, its focus on low-cost efficiencies, the perceived quality and value of the Kirkland Signature brand, and its philosophy of rewarding human capital. However, as Costco made plans to expand its operations, it faced challenges due to intensified competition in the global retail industry and policies and regulations in local markets that restricted big box retailers. In this context of uncertain international markets, which markets should it enter next? What was the best entry method for each individual market? Chansoo Park and Vipin Viswanathan and Raadhika Gopinath and Mary Furey are affiliated with Memorial University of Newfoundland.