Let’s point out some differences between Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club

Costco was founded in 1976, and BJ appeared a few years later in 1984, but they have been compared to each other ever since.  

The characteristics of the stores are the same; there are still a few key differences in how they operate. We have found some notable differences in the exchange between trade clubs that distinguish each brand.  

BJ’s Accepts Coupons…Costco Doesn’t

Unlike Costco, BJ’s accepts coupons from manufacturers – and it’s the only club that does – which means shoppers can save on select brands like Cheerios, Wheat Thins or Nature Valley bars. BJ’s website even encourages members to “put them on top of in-club coupons.” However, Costco does not accept available manufacturer coupons, and its website explains why it decided to go the other direction – it already has sales and deals coming directly from the warehouse itself.    

The company says it’s also about price cuts because “manufacturers, meanwhile, often simply ‘include’ the cost of the coupon program in the initial price of their product.” He adds that “because it doesn’t ultimately benefit the member, we don’t allow our suppliers or customers to do this at Costco.”    

Costco has a Food Court…BJ’s Doesn’t

Favourite food court Costco, another major division of the warehouse brand, draws in customers with its popular $1.50 hot dogs and favourites like pizza and onion side dishes. But BJ members don’t have the luxury of a food court. There was once one, but as of 2016, Dunkin’ Doughnuts stalls have replaced the dining areas.    

BJ’s Non-member Surcharge is Higher

The basic BJ membership costs $55/year, and the premium membership costs $110/year. If you want to bypass membership fees, BJ’s offers a 1-day pass for online shopping on the store’s website…please note, however, that there is an additional 20% fee for non-members. It also doesn’t offer all the benefits of a regular subscription. Buyers can only use the “Submit” service; BJ’s notes that its free “Club Pick” and “Same Day Delivery” options are not part of the deal.   

As for Costco, the annual fee for a basic Gold Star/Business membership is $60, while the yearly fee for a Gold Star Executive/Business Executive membership is double. Like BJ, Costco offers shopping at the company’s online store for non-members who pay an additional fee. However, unlike BJ’s 20% surcharge, Costco’s surcharge for non-members is only 5%. Customers cannot purchase “members only” items, but warehouse pharmacies, eyeglass centres and vaccination sites are all available and open to the public!    

 BJ’s Has a Bigger Product Selection

During an investor call in 2017, BJ revealed that the brick and mortar store had about 7,000 items on offer. It is unknown if the number of things has changed since then, but the company states that the number of items is “roughly double the range found at Costco or Sam’s Club, but significantly less than a typical supermarket and significantly less than a typical one supermarket. Walmart or Target. Costco has significantly fewer merchandise and is believed to “…have about 4,000 SKUs (stocking units) compared to the 30,000 found in most supermarkets,” according to the website.   

Costco Outnumbers BJ’s in Store Locations

Costco has opened nearly 600 stores in 482 US cities, with California accounting for a whopping 22% of those Costco stores (with 132 stores operating in the state alone). By comparison, BJ’s has significantly fewer stores, with just 215 stores in 16 states. This means a stark difference in the number of BJ’s 25,000 team members employees compared to Costco’s 189,000 employees. 

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