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Costco CFO says membership price hike is 'a question of when, not if'

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Costco's $60 annual membership fee is going up sooner or later.

During the company's earnings report last week, chief financial officer Richard Galanti said that while "there's no rush" to raise prices, an eventual hike is "a question of when, not if."

The Seattle-based wholesaler's last price hike in June of 2017 saw it raise the price of its Standard Gold Star membership from $55 to $60, and increase the price of its Executive membership from $110 to $120.

Those prices have remained steady ever since. Rival Sam's Club, meanwhile, recently increased its prices for the first time in nearly a decade.

Galanti told analysts that on average Costco has increased its rates every five years and seven months, which would put Costco on track for another increase in January.

Still, Galanti said, no decisions have been made about when the fee increase will be implemented.

A woman displays her membership card while entering a Costco warehouse.
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"It's a question of when, not if," he said on the call. "There's no analytical framework we use other than we feel very good about our member loyalty and our strength. And if we wanted to do it yesterday, we could. If we want to do it six months from now, we can. So, we'll wait and see."

Only customers with memberships to Costco are permitted to shop in its warehouses, with the company boasting a 92.5% renewal rate in the U.S. and Canada.

The $60 standard Gold Star membership grants members access to all Costco locations worldwide, and comes with an extra card for another member of your household. The Executive Membership, meanwhile, gets you 2% rewards on Costco purchases, as well as additional benefits on certain products.

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