Costco and Walmart are two of the largest retail corporations in the world. So, it’s easy to wonder if and how these companies are affiliated with each other. As the largest company in the world, does Walmart actually own Costco? Keep reading to find out!
Despite being two large big box stores, Costco and Walmart are not affiliated in any way. Both companies are multinational corporations, and neither are owned by a larger parent company.
Costco is a publicly traded multinational retail corporation owned by the Costco Wholesale Corporation. Walmart is a publicly traded multinational retail corporation owned by Walmart Inc.
The two companies are considered major global competitors.
Who Currently Owns Costco?
Costco is a publicly traded American wholesale corporation officially known as Costco Wholesale Inc. The company is owned by its shareholders.
As for Costco’s history, the company got its start in the early 1980s when founders Jim Sinegal and Jeffrey H. Brotman opened the first Costco Warehouse location in Seattle, Washington. From the start, Costco has been a grocery wholesaler, and Brotman even got his start in the industry as a grocery bagger prior to owning Costco.
In 1983, Costco’s first and second locations opened, one in Seattle and another in Portland shortly after. Originally headquartered at its Seattle location, Costco’s headquarters moved to Kirkland, Washington, in 1987, where the Kirkland Signature brand was born. In 1996, Costco’s headquarters moved to Issaquah, Washington, where they have remained ever since.
With warehouse locations in 12 countries worldwide, Costco has a significant global presence that just seems to keep growing.
What Companies Does Walmart Own?
As the largest and most profitable retailer in the world, it might not come as a big surprise that Walmart owns quite a few other subsidiary companies and brands. But did you know that Walmart owns over 20 different stores and retailers, including their own Walmart subsidiaries?
In addition to the obvious hits like Walmart Neighborhood Market, Walmart Auto Care Center, and Walmart.com, Walmart owns plenty of other brand names you’re bound to recognize.
Walmart owns the following companies:
- Sam’s Club (members-only big box wholesaler)
- Vudu (digital video retailer and streaming service)
- ModCloth (clothing brand)
- Art.com (online art seller)
- Seiyu Group (Japanese supermarket company)
- Asda (British supermarket chain)
- Moosejaw (outdoor recreation retailer)
- ELOQUII (women’s plus-size apparel retailer)
- Bare Necessities (lingerie company)
- Flipkart (Indian e-commerce company)
- Massmart (South African retail and wholesale distributor)
- Bonobos (e-commerce company)
- Shoes.com (online shoe retailer)
- Aspectiva (software company)
- Lider (Chilean hypermarket chain)
- Amigo (holdings company and subprime lender)
- Hayneedle (budget and discount furniture company)
- Best Price Modern Wholesale (Indian discount store chain)
- CARHCO (Central American Retail Holding Company)
Prior to its sudden end in June 2020, the former e-commerce site Jet.com was also owned by Walmart.
Is Costco Cheaper Than Walmart?
While Costco does offer impressively low wholesale prices on many desirable items, they still tend to be a bit slightly more expensive than Walmart. In yearly studies that examine prices of major retailers, Walmart almost always prevails as the retailer offering the lowest prices across the board.
However, the margin of difference between Costco and Walmart is often very small, and on some items, Costco even comes out on top. So, if you’re trying to decide between shopping at Costco and Walmart, it’s worth examining other factors, because the prices are often fairly comparable.
Some of the benefits of shopping at Costco instead of Walmart include:
- Costco is a smaller company (Costco is the world’s 5th largest retailer while Sam’s Club’s parent company Walmart is #1)
- Costco offers a wider range of organic and locally-produced items
- Extra perks included in a Costco membership
- Access to Costco Optical, Costco Gas, Costco Travel, and more
Walmart’s Sam’s Club vs. Costco
Costco and Sam’s Club have many things in common, but they also have a few major differences.
Here are some similarities between the two wholesale suppliers:
- Sam’s Club and Costco are both members-only wholesale suppliers
- Both stores offer multiple levels of membership at varying price points
- Both stores sell a wide range of groceries, household items, appliances, clothing, books, and more
- Both stores have hundreds of locations nationwide
- Both stores have locations worldwide in dozens of different countries
Some of the major differences between the two stores include:
- Costco is a smaller company than Sam’s Club’s parent company Walmart
- Costco has fewer locations worldwide
- Costco charges more for membership
- Costco offers a wider range of healthy and organic foods
- Costco offers a wider range of American and locally made products
- Sam’s Club is just one of about 20 subsidiaries of the Walmart corporation while Costco is its own parent company
Is Costco owned by China?
No. Costco is an American company headquartered in Issaquah, WA, and owned by its shareholders.
Who owns Costco Kirkland?
Costco is owned by the Costco Wholesale Corporation, and the company’s current CEO is Craig Jelinek.
Is Costco in all 50 states?
No. Maine, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wyoming do not have Costco locations as of 2022.
Does Walmart sell Costco gift cards?
No. The only place Costco gift cards can be purchased is at Costco.
Is Walmart bigger than Costco?
Yes. Walmart Supercenters tend to be somewhat larger than Costco Warehouse locations. Also, as the long-standing largest retailer in the world, the Walmart corporation is a much larger company than Costco.
Who is Costco affiliated with?
Costco is not affiliated with any other companies. However, the Kirkland Signature brand, which is sometimes thought of as its own independent company, is actually the store brand of Costco.
There you have it. Costco is not owned by or affiliated with Walmart in any way, aside from being one of the company’s major competitors. Walmart and Costco both rank among the top 5 largest retail corporations in the world.
Costco is its own parent company, owned by the Costco Wholesale Corporation and publicly traded on the American stock exchange.