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Costco has record profits


By Vicente   Follow   Tue, 12 Mar 2013, 6:02am PDT   2,203 views   45 comments   Watch (0)   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike (2)  

Remember all the moaning the other day about how flat spending at Walmart foretold economic doom? Maybe it's just fickle consumers shopping elsewhere:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/12/costco-profit_n_2859250.html

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errc   befriend   ignore   Tue, 12 Mar 2013, 9:12am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (3)   Dislike (1)     Comment 6

CL says

chanakya4773 says

1) not allowing credit cards - 3% saved there.

They do accept credit cards. Mostly Amex, but it looks like they also accept Visa/MC debit cards.

Not mostly amex, only amex

CL   befriend   ignore   Tue, 12 Mar 2013, 9:27am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 7

http://www.costco.com/order-information.html

"What forms of payment does Costco.com accept?

Costco.com accepts the following forms of payment:

American Express (the preferred credit card of Costco.com)
Apply for the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express.
Visa
Master Card
Discover Card
Costco Credit Card
Costco Cash Card"

I guess this refers to the online business, but I'm not sure if there are some occasional exceptions to the warehouse stores.

EBGuy   befriend   ignore   Tue, 12 Mar 2013, 9:59am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 8

Not sure if it's fickle customers. Unemployment is lower among the college educated and Costco caters to those who are at the higher end of the pay scale. I agree with chanakya4773 that their model of curated collections (at the best price) works well for this type of clientele.
Has anyone tried to buy alcohol, wine or liquor at a Costco without a membership? I've always wanted to do this as they have to sell to you by law. The same holds for their pharmacy.

Dan8267   befriend   ignore   Tue, 12 Mar 2013, 10:54am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (2)     Comment 9

Costco is known for paying its workers wages that are generally above average for the retail industry. An average Costco worker made about $45,000 in 2011, according to Fortune. That’s compared to an average of about $17,486 per year for a worker at comparable Walmart-owned Sam’s Club.

And apparently the extra pay pays off. Costco makes more than $10,000 in profits per employee, while Walmart takes home about $7,400 per worker, according to the Daily Beast (Walmart and Costco aren’t exactly the same type of business, however).

Pay Profit Productivity Employment Tax Your Keep
45,000 17,486 62,486 0.279838684 0.720161316
17,486 7,400 24,886 0.297355943 0.702644057

Costco

Walmart

Finally, some data to play with!

OK, so Republicans are always bitching and moaning about how the effective tax rate for the wealthy is about 28% or 15% for the uber-wealthy who get all their income without working through investments, which are taxed less. Those Republicans are like "15% is way the hell too much tax and 28% is like rape.". Well, it turns out that for low-wage employees the corporations employing them are taxing those employees at about 28% to 30% depending on how generous the corporation is.

So Republicans, explain to me how the biggest tax that 99% of Americans pay isn't the "Employment Tax" that corporations impose on their employees? Now, remember, profit is what the corporation makes after expenses, so you can't justify that this tax is going to pay for the buildings, electricity, factory, etc. It's profit.

Nor am I saying that the Employment Tax should be 0%. After all, businesses do need to make a profit and pay executives. But does it have to be a third of all the wealth generated by the wealth producers? Can't it be a reasonable 5%?

The way I see it, Republicans have no right to bitch and moan about taxes that go to public services (schools, firefighters, police, parks, etc.) or social safety nets (Welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) when the biggest actual tax is levied in secret by corporations and goes to fat cats buying yachts and mansions.

And I suspect that the more productive the wealth producer, the greater the Employment Tax as a percentage of the wealth produced simply because there is more to siphon off.

MsBennet   befriend   ignore   Tue, 12 Mar 2013, 2:34pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 10

CL says

chanakya4773 says

1) not allowing credit cards - 3% saved there.

They do accept credit cards. Mostly Amex, but it looks like they also accept Visa/MC debit cards.

They accept AMEX and I get back 2% of my purchases from Amex into my Fidelity account.

Vicente   befriend   ignore   Tue, 12 Mar 2013, 3:00pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (2)     Comment 11

CL says

Costco.com accepts the following forms of payment:

Oddly enough at the food counter the other day I offered my credit card and was told that was cash only.

CL   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 8:09am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 12

One *could* make a distinction between AXP and the others, but with all of their offerings that are revolving credit I'd say it's moot.

I think (but don't know) that some of these may be regional variances.
(Costco.COM, at least, accepts Visa and MC, according to their site.)

And if they can broker a deal with Amex, they could broker one with Visa, you'd think. But Amex is more of a business-card, so maybe that's their "in"?.

Reality   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 8:19am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 13

Dan8267 says

So Republicans, explain to me how the biggest tax that 99% of Americans pay isn't the "Employment Tax" that corporations impose on their employees?

Because the employee has the option to work somewhere else or even open his/her own shop if he/she so choose. It is not an "employment tax" but an Employment Opportunity! Employer and Employee collaborate because both can benefit from the collaboration, and the choice is voluntary. The voluntarity allows employees to jump ship from KMart to Walmart, and from Walmart to Costco if the new employers can make better and more efficient use of the employee's labor. This is how the market place works for limited resources, and the employee's labor is certainly a limited resource (if you don't believe human labor limited resource, you can come work for me without pay!)

Government taxation however is entirely different: taxation is is not voluntary. That monopolistic structure breeds bureaucratic waste like paying people to dig a hole in the ground and another set of people to fill it back up. After a while, you wonder why the society gets poorer and poorer under government monopolistic management displacing free market competition.

Reality   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 8:25am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (2)   Dislike (1)     Comment 14

Dan8267 says

Now, remember, profit is what the corporation makes after expenses, so you can't justify that this tax is going to pay for the buildings, electricity, factory, etc. It's profit.

What exactly is wrong with profit? Profit means you are creating something of greater value to other people than the resources that you are consuming in order to produce it. Do you refuse to take any pay beyond your own bare necessity expenses?

Profit return on capital is how a society calculates what projects need to be pursued first, as the highest return on capital (without coercion) would please the most number of people the most vs. alternatives that people can think of at the moment.

Vicente   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 9:31am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (2)     Comment 15

Reality says

What exactly is wrong with profit? Profit means you are creating something of greater value to other people than the resources that you are consuming in order to produce it.

Profit as the end-all-be-all goal with nothing else even considered, seems to be the modern corporate mantra. One can "profit" for example by selling garbage CDO-squared and hey it's "sophisticated" investors it's their own lookout right? A lot of "profit" now is in services and financial sector in particular, where is the great value to society in that? Middlemen eat a crumb off each plate, they don't add to it.

Can we go bankrupt to skin our creditors and renegotiate the retirement fund & union contracts? Then not a second thought will be given about the matter it will be done. On the other hand if a citizen starts talking about walking away from their debts a great howl will arise from these same corporate types about "personal responsibility" for debts and promises made.

leo707   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 9:41am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 16

CL says

And if they can broker a deal with Amex, they could broker one with Visa, you'd think. But Amex is more of a business-card, so maybe that's their "in"?.

It is not just that they have a deal with Amex, but Costco also sponsors an Amex card:
https://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/costco-american-express

The Costco Amex card also doubles as your membership card.

Oxygen   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 9:51am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 17

robertoaribas says

I got $400 in costco bucks for using that card last year.

wth is Costco Bucks

Reality   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 9:55am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (2)   Dislike (1)     Comment 18

Vicente says

Profit as the end-all-be-all goal with nothing else even considered, seems to be the modern corporate mantra. One can "profit" for example by selling garbage CDO-squared and hey it's "sophisticated" investors it's their own lookout right?

Wrong! You missed the crucial element in my previous post: non-coercively. Selling garbage CDO-squared being profitable is a distinct result of government coercive policies:

1. Central banking for money;
2. Bailouts of the big institutions when they bet wrong;
3. Government mandatory rating agencies.

A lot of "profit" now is in services and financial sector in particular, where is the great value to society in that?

You should direct the question to those in favor of central banking coercion by the government.

Middlemen eat a crumb off each plate, they don't add to it.

Middlemen have to add value in order to exist in a free market place, for example, the very titular company of this thread, Costco, is a Middlemen. It adds value moving things around because it can move products to the consumer at lower cost than almost anyone else. When it fails to deliver that value superiority, people shop elsewhere!

Government instituted bureaucratic middlemen however are a different story. They do indeed eat off the plates, not just crumbs but the bulk of the pie, and leave crumbs to the average Joes and Janes.

Can we go bankrupt to skin our creditors and renegotiate the retirement fund & union contracts? Then not a second thought will be given about the matter it will be done.

I'm sure plenty thoughts and calculations go into these decisions. The creditors were familiar with the risk therefore charging interest accordingly. As for the union, they can only survive by joining the monopolistic market position in a particular industry, feasting on the consumers. The sooner those monopolies cease to exist, the better.

On the other hand if a citizen starts talking about walking away from their debts a great howl will arise from these same corporate types about "personal responsibility" for debts and promises made.

Plenty individual people did and do walk from their debts. Laws were even passed to remove tax consequences when mortgage debts were forgiven. The hired corporate mouth pieces can yap all they want; it's when they make laws that adversely affect us that matters.

Vicente   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 9:58am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (4)   Dislike (2)     Comment 19

Reality says

Selling garbage CDO-squared being profitable is a distinct result of government coercive policies:

Horsehockey. Selling bad investment "products" to the rubes predates central banking. Your hypothesis is trivially disproven.

Reality   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 10:02am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 20

Vicente says

Reality says

Selling garbage CDO-squared being profitable is a distinct result of government coercive policies:

Horsehockey. Selling bad investment "products" to the rubes predates central banking. Your hypothesis is trivially disproven.

You missed the "being profitable" part of the sentence. Both Charles Ponzi and John Law were bankrupted very quickly. You were complaining about them the banksters nowadays somehow being able to recycle the same schemes over and over again. That we have the central banking bailouts to thank for.

leo707   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 10:21am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 21

Oxygen says

robertoaribas says

I got $400 in costco bucks for using that card last year.

wth is Costco Bucks

The Costco Amex gives a yearly voucher that you can spend at Costco. The size of the voucher depends on how much you spend on the Amex card.

zzyzzx   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 11:17am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 22

Without bothering to look, I'm guessing that Walmart spends way more on advertising than Costco does. That's a considerable cost savings for Costco right there.

Vicente   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 11:51am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (2)     Comment 23

zzyzzx says

Without bothering to look, I'm guessing that Walmart spends way more on advertising than Costco does. That's a considerable cost savings for Costco right there.

Why should they? They depend on word of mouth. They have good people and a good return policy. Wallyworld makes up for how much they suck by trying to convince you otherwise. Advertising is brainwashing and lies.

zzyzzx   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 12:35pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 24

Vicente says

Why should they?

I was not trying to imply that Costco should advertise more! I think of advertisements as a nuisance, and a waste of money in most cases.

Dan8267   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 3:15pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (2)   Dislike (1)     Comment 25

Reality says

Dan8267 says

So Republicans, explain to me how the biggest tax that 99% of Americans pay isn't the "Employment Tax" that corporations impose on their employees?

Because the employee has the option to work somewhere else or even open his/her own shop if he/she so choose. It is not an "employment tax" but an Employment Opportunity!

Tell that to Tucker. Big business uses the government to prevent competition.

Dan8267   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 3:20pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (8)   Dislike (1)     Comment 26

Reality says

What exactly is wrong with profit?

What exactly is wrong with clean drinking water? If you drink too much of it, you will die. Excessiveness, not water or profit, is what is wrong.

When those who control capital squeeze the wealth producing employees to barely above the poverty level, it prevents the wealth producer from enriching his life, becoming more productive, enabling his children to be more productive, and bettering the lot of all of society. A large population base trapped in a system where they can never get out of living paycheck to paycheck isn't good for society as a whole.

tr6   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 4:15pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 27

Everyone here does not seem to see the bad side of Costco.

When you buy things in bulk, you end up eating too much or stuff goes bad.

For example: if you buy four pounds of beef, you will need to eat it before it goes bad which probably means you will eat too much beef that week.

When you buy a bag of avocados, you will most likely not eat all of them before some of them go bad.

I still shop at Costco, but I am a lot more selective about what I buy.

Vicente   befriend   ignore   Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 5:06pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 28

treatmentreport says

Everyone here does not seem to see the bad side of Costco.

When you buy things in bulk, you end up eating too much or stuff goes bad.

I have never had this be a problem.

Food is the minority of my Costco purchases I think. People think of it for food but I don't particularly. 2 runs ago the majority of my receipt was a new mattress. Most recent one a printer dominated.

Oh, not to mention diapers, formula, etc.

For food stick to frozen items or things with a decent shelf life. But even in my house a bunch of cantaloupes or pineapple goes quickly with enough mouths to feed, so I've never had this problem.

CL   befriend   ignore   Thu, 14 Mar 2013, 6:55am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 29

treatmentreport says

For example: if you buy four pounds of beef, you will need to eat it before it goes bad which probably means you will eat too much beef that week.

I have a thing they call a "freezer" for that.

Dan8267   befriend   ignore   Thu, 14 Mar 2013, 7:37am PDT   Share   Quote   Like (6)   Dislike (1)     Comment 30

Channeling my inner Apocalysefuck...

Until I can buy a 300-count pack of AK-47s and bullets by the truckload at Costco I'm not renewing my membership. Why do these assholes hate the American way of life so much?

gsr   befriend   ignore   Thu, 14 Mar 2013, 9:52am PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 31

Dan8267 says

What exactly is wrong with clean drinking water? If you drink too much of it, you will die. Excessiveness, not water or profit, is what is wrong.

That's fine. Let the corporation die for their wrong decisions. I don't see anything wrong with it. Other corporations will learn from it and adjust. Or, do you think you need to prevent corporations from making mistakes as it somehow affects "society"?

Reality   befriend   ignore   Thu, 14 Mar 2013, 12:20pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like   Dislike     Comment 32

Dan8267 says

Tell that to Tucker. Big business uses the government to prevent competition.

Who is Tucker? You actually know that big business uses the government to prevent competition? No kidding! What do you think the government is? The biggest monopolistic business there ever is!

Reality   befriend   ignore   Thu, 14 Mar 2013, 12:29pm PDT   Share   Quote   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 33

Dan8267 says

Reality says

What exactly is wrong with profit?

What exactly is wrong with clean drinking water? If you drink too much of it, you will die. Excessiveness, not water or profit, is what is wrong.

Pointless analogy. Do you happen to think there should be a limit on personal liberty and freedom because excess is not good?

You only get to decide whether you are engaging in excess and should stop. You don't get to decide whether other people are engaging in excess.

In a free market place without coercion, there is no such thing as excess profit.

When those who control capital squeeze the wealth producing employees to barely above the poverty level,

How is that even possible if the employees have the freedom to work for someone else? In fact, government controlled by the big businesses (government itself being the biggest business) is the very instrument that makes the squeezing possible in places of socialist slavery.

it prevents the wealth producer from enriching his life, becoming more productive, enabling his children to be more productive, and bettering the lot of all of society. A large population base trapped in a system where they can never get out of living paycheck to paycheck isn't good for society as a whole.

What do you think the government central planning through central banking has produced? What do you think mortgages are? Exactly the instrument for making people strapped to a system and live paycheck to paycheck! In fact, any bureaucratic system that prevents wealth creation through entreprenuership effectively forces people live paycheck to paycheck.

Dan8267   befriend   ignore   Thu, 14 Mar 2013, 12:34pm PDT