It is rather difficult to narrow down four warehouse club retailers with business models exactly like Costco. The two that come closest are Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Sam’s club is a division of Wal-Mart and their financial performance is absorbed into Wal-Mart’s financial statements. BJ’s Wholesale Club is a privately owned company and their financial statements are not easily available.
However, relevant competitors to Costco do not necessarily need to have the warehouse sales model—although that would be convenient for an analysis. Retail businesses that offer wide range of merchandise such as Wal-Mart and Target are good candidates to be analyzed with Costco as the premise of their business is essentially the same. Like Costco, both Target and Wal-Mart are in the business of buying and re-selling their merchandise and neither of them have invested a significant amount of resources into unique brands. However, Costco has invested significantly into their private label brand, Kirkland Signature and it will be interesting to see if this deviation from the typical buy-re-sell model also differentiates them from Target and Wal-Mart financially.
In their 2013 Annual Report, Costco names Kohls and Amazon.com, in addition to Target and Wal-Mart, as two additional big competitors. Kohls and Amazon.com also operate under the buy re-sell model. Two weaknesses of these companies as competitors are their product range and common-size. Kohls does not