One of the biggest reasons for Costco’s massive popularity is the many diverse offerings that make it a one-stop-shop, and while it’s a prime destination for bulk buys, delicious Kirkland brand foods, and discounted gas, that’s far from all; there are all sorts of things you haven’t been buying from Costco but should. It might be time to add clothes to that list—yes, clothes! It may seem a little strange to buy garments at your go-to spot for groceries, food court fare, and toilet paper, but lots of people are doing it and for good reason!
As Costco’s massive success in the United States continues—it’s the country’s fourth-largest retailer as of July 2019, according to The Washington Post—it’s been slowly creeping into prevalence as a clothing retailer. If you haven’t spent a lot of time in Costco’s clothing section, here’s what you should know. Costco has its own Kirkland Signature clothing line, but it also offers items from such big brands as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Birkenstock. And it offers them for cheap!
The Post explains that Costco “caps its profit margins at about 15 percent,” allowing it to offer serious deals on even brand-name clothing. Well-known brands bring unsold merchandise to Costco, which can then sell them for a much more reasonable price. It’s just one of the secret shopping perks from Costco only members know.
Cost isn’t the only reason people are turning to Costco as a clothing destination. With its “pared-down” area consisting mostly of folded clothes on tables, Costco’s clothing section smacks a little of other bargain shops like T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s. So it provides a similar “treasure-hunt” feel to those stores, but as it’s just a small section of clothing rather than an entire store, it makes for a slightly less overwhelming shopping experience.
Despite this scaled-down experience, though, there is a sense of urgency that comes with clothes shopping at Costco, and that comes from the fact that you never know what you’ll find. Rather than racks of several of the same shirt, you’ll instead find tables displaying…whatever is there that day. So if you see an item you love, there comes with it the need to buy it while you’re there. The potentially self-control-supporting possibility of “I’ll get it next time I’m here” that traditional stores allow disappears, so people have a buy-it-or-lose-it mentality.
Add to that the fact that people who are already in Costco, stocking up on its many other wonderful must-buys, figure that they might as well poke around in the clothes section while they’re there, and Costco’s beginning to see some serious profits from clothing. To be exact, Costco is now seeing clothing and footwear account for $7 billion in sales a year. That secures its place as the eighth most profitable retailer of clothing in the United States! Costco is seeing more annual profit from clothing than big names like Neiman Marcus and Old Navy, per the Post. They even have a branch in China.
With numbers like that, you’ve gotta figure that these Costco clothes shoppers are onto something. So next time you’re getting your free sample fix, consider checking out the clothing section. And let’s not forget that clothes aren’t even close to the strangest thing you can get at Costco.