Costco raised annual membership fees for the first time since 2017

(Bloomberg) — Costco Wholesale Corp. is raising its base membership fee from $60 to $65 for the first time since 2017.

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Costco said in a statement Wednesday that the 8% price increase will take effect Sept. 1. The retailer’s premium membership price will now increase from $120 to $130. The move will affect around 52 million members.

Costco shares were up 2.6% in extended trading in New York at 4:53 p.m.

Investors and analysts have long waited for the Issaquah, Washington-based company to raise its membership fee. Costco has typically raised fees every five years or so, prompting analysts in recent quarters to ask about the company’s thinking about timing. Executives have said that this is only a period and they want to be comfortable with the company’s renewal rates.

Membership revenue is important to Costco, which has used the revenue to invest in its operations and lower product prices. Higher membership fees could be profitable for Costco, which is trying to attract lower-priced shoppers.

Following in the footsteps of Walmart Inc.-owned Sam’s Club, U.S. consumers are flocking to warehouse stores that offer bulk products to everyday shoppers. Sam’s Club raised its annual fee to $50 for the base and $110 for the premium in 2022, though it used its rewards program to reimburse members for the extra cost in the first year.

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