Costco Is Rolling Out Price Hikes on Beloved Items — And Shoppers Are Not Happy

published May 22, 2024
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COSTCO on Raleigh Road. Headquartered in Issaquah, WA, Costco Wholesale Corp. is a membership-only warehouse club that provides a wide selection of merchandise.
Credit: jejim / Shutterstock

The samples, the bulk buys, the variety, the $1.50 hotdog — for all these reasons and more, Costco is a staple for many families and households. Will the retailer maintain its worth, though, for brand loyalists in 2024 as potential prices on food, items, and even memberships continue to rise?

Depending on your level of interest and shopping behaviors, you probably have the Costco Executive Membership for $120 a year, or the Gold Star Membership for $60 a year. Those prices have not changed since 2017. Membership renewal rates are at 92.9 percent for the U.S. and Canada (according to Costco’s CFO, Richard Galanti, on their most recent Q2 earnings call). While renewal numbers remain strong, this could be the year we see an increase in membership cost which could be anywhere between $5 and $10. The decision being “a question of when, not if. But at this juncture, we feel pretty good about what we’re doing,” Galanti said. 

Some stores and regions are already quietly seeing jumps in price. Take Brooklyn’s Costco, for example, where Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil went from $16.99 in March of 2023, to $24.99 in 2024. In some places, the 2PK, 3L bottle of Kirkland Signature 15% Virgin Olive Oil is currently on shelves for $50.99.

Also, many Costcos have gas stations with prices lower than competitors in that area. However, the company is also increasing its prices on gas. Costco gas tends to be 30 to 50 cents cheaper than other gas stations, according to GoBankingRates, which is based on prices listed by the GasBuddy app.

While some pricing continues to soar on pantry staples like olive oil, Galanti details that he is looking to take price reductions where possible. “In the first quarter, we estimated that year-over-year inflation was approximately 0 to 1 percent. We’ll now say that in Q2, it was essentially flat.” 

He says some items like Kirkland Signature batteries have gone from $17.99 to $15.99, 24-count Pellegrino from $16.99 to $14.99, and 4 pounds of frozen fruit from $14.99 to $10.99 (with new crop pricing). He looks to continue doing that where possible. “Overall, our inventories and SKUs are in good shape across all channels,” he says. 

As Costco continues to flourish, the store is anticipating 30 new locations opening, including two relocations in the portfolio. E-commerce business and delivery orders continue to grow as well, increasing by 18.2 percent this quarter. Sixty percent of Costco’s ecommerce business is done on mobile and browser. Costco’s popular CostcoNext website, which “allows members exclusive access to direct-to-consumer sites for top quality brands at Costco value pricing” currently hosts 70 brands and plans to likely expand to 90 by year end. 

Maybe the most important takeaway is that the $1.50 hot dog and soda deal is staying, so don’t worry about that. Whip your membership card out, get shopping, and smile at your friendly door membership-card checker while you still can.