Costco membership fees will rise, says CFO, but when?

(NEXSTAR) — Costco is not increasing its dues now, but company officials indicate that change may be coming soon. The question is: what time?

Speaking to investors last week, Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti reiterated that there will be a price hike for his Gold Star membership, but said “it’s a matter of when, not if.”

Costco last increased its basic membership fee in June 2017. Historically, the retailer has increased its Gold Star annual price every five years, with five-year, seven-month intervals.

If the latest price increase had followed the same pattern, Gold Star members would have already seen the price increase, Galanti acknowledged.

He has hinted since early last year that there would be a membership price increase “at some point”. In December, Galanti said there was “no rush” to increase dues amid inflation and recession fears.

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“If we have to wait a few months or several months, that’s fine,” he said at the time. CEO Craig Jelinek made a similar statement at a January meeting, according to Insider, calling now “not the time to do it.”

Costco’s membership remains high, according to earnings data released Thursday. Over 1 million new members joined in the prior quarter and membership renewal remains over 90% in the US and Canada.

According to Galanti, Executive Memberships make up 45% of the company’s current shoppers. These members represent approximately 73% of sales. Currently, a Costco Gold Star membership costs $60 and an Executive membership costs $120.

Last year competitor Sam’s Club increased the membership fee. For now, it’s unclear when Costco will increase its dues. When asked, Galanti said, “we’ll let you know.”






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