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The Costco universe

(article, Culinate staff)

Patricia Marx, the New Yorker's shopping reporter — yes, such a thing exists — recently wrote about shopping for groceries in NYC. Tacked on at the end of a typical roundup of high-end foodie destinations (Fairway, Citarella, Dean & DeLuca) was a fascinating look at Costco, the national warehouse discounter that sells everything from gasoline and hot dogs to bulk toilet tissue and diamonds. Nope, you can't read the full article online, but here are the stunning numbers:

bq. Last year, in its 596 outlets, Costco sold 92 million hot-dog-and-drink combinations at $1.50 each (the same price as in 1985). It grossed $4.6 billion in meat sales, $855 million in seafood, $1.35 billion in wine (it's the largest wine merchant in the U.S.), $1.9 billion in TVs, $1.1 billion in baked goods, and $3.9 billion worth of produce. According to ABC News, the chain sells $300,000 worth of cashews every week, buying up more than half the world's supply of the nut. Toilet paper and nuts, along with rotisserie chicken, are Costco's three biggest-selling items, excluding tobacco and gasoline. Last year, the store pumped 2.6 billion gallons of gas and filled 35 million prescriptions. If Costco were a country, its revenues would make it the 65th largest in the world, ahead of both the Republic of Microsoft and Applestand and right behind the United Kingdom of Procter & Gamble.