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Costco (NASDAQ:Â COST), is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States. As of July 2009[update] it is the third largest retailer in the United States, where it originated, and the ninth largest in the world. As of October 2007[update], Costco is the largest retailer of fine wine in the world. Costco is headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, United States and was founded in Kirkland, Washington with its first warehouse in nearby Seattle. Costco has locations in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and the United States.
Founded by James (Jim) Sinegal and Jeffrey Brotman, Costco opened its first warehouse in Seattle, Washington, on September 15, 1983. Sinegal had started in wholesale distribution by working for Sol Price at both FedMart and Price Club. Brotman, an attorney from an old Seattle retailing family, had also been involved in retail distribution from an early age. Sol Price died on December 14, 2009 at 93. In 1993, Costco merged with Price Club (called Club Price in the Canadian province of Quebec). Costco’s business model and size were similar to those of Price Club, which was founded by Sol and Robert Price in 1976 in San Diego, California. Thus, the combined company, PriceCostco, was effectively double the size of each of its parents. Just after the merger, PriceCostco had 206 locations generating $16 billion in annual sales. PriceCostco was initially led by executives from both companies, but then Sol and his son Robert Price founded Price Enterprises and left in December 1994.