10-K 1 cost10k2014.htm 10-K COST 10K 2014
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549 
FORM 10-K
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2014
or
¨
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number 0-20355
Costco Wholesale Corporation
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Washington
 
91-1223280
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
999 Lake Drive, Issaquah, WA 98027
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (425) 313-8100
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on
which registered
Common Stock, $.005 Par Value
 
The NASDAQ Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YES ý   NO o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. YES o   NO ý 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. YES ý   NO o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). YES ý   NO o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ý
  
Accelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filer o (Do not check if a smaller company)
  
Smaller reporting company o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). YES o   NO ý
The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of February 16, 2014 was $50,658,922,369.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock as of October 8, 2014 was 437,762,068.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Company’s Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on January 29, 2015, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.



COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED AUGUST 31, 2014
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
Page
 
 
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 15.

2


INFORMATION RELATING TO FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements contained in this Report constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. They include statements that address activities, events, conditions or developments that we expect or anticipate may occur in the future and may relate to such matters as sales growth, increases in comparable store sales, cannibalization of existing locations by new openings, price or fee changes, earnings performance, earnings per share, stock-based compensation expense, warehouse openings and closures, the amount we expect to spend on our expansion plans, the effect of adopting certain accounting standards, future financial reporting, financing, margins, return on invested capital, strategic direction, expense controls, membership renewal rates, shopping frequency, litigation, and the demand for our products and services. Forward-looking statements may also be identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “strategy,” “future,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” and similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual events, results, or performance to differ materially from those indicated by such statements, including, without limitation, the factors set forth in the section titled “Item 1A-Risk Factors”, and other factors noted in the section titled “Item 7-Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and in the consolidated financial statements and related notes in Item 8 of this Report. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake to update them, except as required by law.


3


PART I
Item 1—Business
Costco Wholesale Corporation and its subsidiaries (Costco or the Company) began operations in 1983 in Seattle, Washington. We are principally engaged in the operation of membership warehouses in the United States (U.S.) and Puerto Rico, Canada, United Kingdom (U.K.), Mexico, Japan, Australia, Spain, and through majority-owned subsidiaries in Taiwan and Korea. Our common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “COST.”
Prior to the July 2012 acquisition of the 50% noncontrolling interest in our joint venture in Mexico, the financial position and results of Mexico's operations were consolidated, and the joint venture partner's share was included in "net income attributable to noncontrolling interests" in the consolidated statements of income. Subsequent to the acquisition, we have included 100% of Mexico's operations within "net income attributable to Costco" in the consolidated statements of income.
We report on a 52/53-week fiscal year, consisting of thirteen, four-week periods and ending on the Sunday nearest the end of August. The first three quarters consist of three periods each, and the fourth quarter consists of four periods (five weeks in the thirteenth period in a 53-week year). The material seasonal impact in our operations is an increased level of net sales and earnings during the winter holiday season. References to 2014 and 2013 relate to the 52-week fiscal years ended August 31, 2014 and September 1, 2013, respectively. References to 2012 relate to the 53-week fiscal year ended September 2, 2012.
General
We operate membership warehouses based on the concept that offering our members low prices on a limited selection of nationally branded and select private-label products in a wide range of merchandise categories will produce high sales volumes and rapid inventory turnover. When combined with the operating efficiencies achieved by volume purchasing, efficient distribution and reduced handling of merchandise in no-frills, self-service warehouse facilities, these volumes and turnover enable us to operate profitably at significantly lower gross margins than traditional wholesalers, mass merchandisers, supermarkets, and supercenters. We generally sell inventory before we are required to pay many of our merchandise vendors, even though we take advantage of early payment discounts when available. To the extent that sales increase and inventory turnover becomes more rapid, more inventory is financed through payment terms provided by suppliers rather than by our working capital.
We buy the majority of our merchandise directly from manufacturers and route it to a cross-docking consolidation point (depot) or directly to our warehouses. Our depots receive container-based shipments from manufacturers and reallocate these goods for shipment to our individual warehouses, generally in less than twenty-four hours. This process maximizes freight volume and handling efficiencies, eliminating many of the costs associated with traditional multiple-step distribution channels. Such traditional steps include purchasing from distributors as opposed to manufacturers, use of central receiving, storing and distributing warehouses, and storage of merchandise in locations off the sales floor.
Our average warehouse is approximately 144,000 square feet, however our newer units tend to be slightly larger. Floor plans are designed for economy and efficiency in the use of selling space, the handling of merchandise, and the control of inventory. Because shoppers are attracted principally by the quality of merchandise and the availability of low prices, our warehouses are not elaborate facilities. By strictly controlling the entrances and exits of our warehouses and using a membership format, we have limited inventory losses (shrinkage) to amounts well below those of typical discount retail operations.
Marketing activities generally include community outreach programs to local businesses in new and existing markets and direct mail to prospective new members. Ongoing promotional programs primarily relate to coupon mailers, The Costco Connection (a magazine we publish for our members), and e-mails to members promoting selected merchandise.
Our warehouses generally operate on a seven-day, 69-hour week, open weekdays between 10:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., with earlier weekend closing hours. Gasoline operations generally have extended hours. Because the hours of operation are shorter than other retailers, and due to other efficiencies inherent in a warehouse-type operation, labor costs are lower relative to the volume of sales. Merchandise is generally stored on racks above the sales floor and displayed on pallets containing large quantities, thereby reducing labor required. In general, with variations by country, our warehouses accept cash, checks, certain debit and credit cards, or a private label Costco credit card.
Our strategy is to provide our members with a broad range of high quality merchandise at prices consistently lower than they can obtain elsewhere. We seek to limit specific items in each product line to fast-selling models, sizes, and colors. We carry an average of approximately 3,700 active stock keeping units (SKUs) per warehouse in our core warehouse business, as opposed to a significantly higher number of SKUs at other retailers. Many consumable products are offered for sale in case, carton, or multiple-pack quantities only.
In keeping with our policy of member satisfaction, we generally accept returns of merchandise. On certain electronic items, we typically have a 90-day return policy and provide, free of charge, technical support services, as well as an extended warranty. Additional third-party warranty coverage is sold on certain electronic item purchases.

4


Item 1—Business (Continued)

The following table indicates the approximate percentage of annual net sales accounted for by major category of items:
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Food (including dry and institutionally packaged foods)
22
%
 
21
%
 
21
%
Sundries (including snack foods, candy, tobacco, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and cleaning and institutional supplies)
21
%
 
22
%
 
22
%
Hardlines (including major appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, garden and patio, and office supplies)
16
%
 
16
%
 
16
%
Fresh Food (including meat, produce, deli, and bakery)
13
%
 
13
%
 
13
%
Softlines (including apparel, small appliances, and home furnishings)
11
%
 
11
%
 
10
%
Ancillary and Other (including gas stations, pharmacy, food court, and optical)
17
%
 
17
%
 
18
%
 
Ancillary businesses within or next to our warehouses provide expanded products and services and encourage members to shop more frequently. The following table indicates the number of ancillary businesses in operation at fiscal year-end:
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Food Courts
657

 
628

 
602

Photo Processing Centers
649

 
622

 
591

Optical Dispensing Centers
641

 
614

 
589

Pharmacies
589

 
565

 
544

Hearing-Aid Centers
549

 
502

 
469

Gas Stations
445

 
414

 
394

Number of warehouses
663

 
634

 
608

 
Our online business, which operates websites in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Mexico, provides our members additional products, many not found in our warehouses. These products vary by country and include services such as photo processing, pharmacy, travel, business delivery, and membership services. Net sales for our online business were approximately 3% of our consolidated net sales.
We have direct buying relationships with many producers of national brand-name merchandise. We do not obtain a significant portion of merchandise from any one supplier. We have not experienced any difficulty in obtaining sufficient quantities of merchandise, and believe that if one or more of our current sources of supply became unavailable, we would be able to obtain alternative sources without substantial disruption of our business. We also purchase private label merchandise, as long as quality and customer demand are comparable and the value to our members is greater as compared to brand-name items.
Certain financial information for our segments and geographic areas is included in Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report.
Membership
Our format allows our members to utilize their memberships at any of our worldwide Costco warehouse locations. We have two types of members: Gold Star (individual) and Business. Gold Star memberships are available to individuals to purchase products for personal use. Business memberships are limited to businesses, including individuals with a business license, retail sales license or other evidence of business existence. Business members have the ability to add additional cardholders (add-ons) for an annual fee. Add-ons are not available for Gold Star members. Our annual fee for these memberships is $55 in our U.S. and Canadian operations and varies by country in our Other International operations. All paid memberships include a free household card.
Our member renewal rate was approximately 91% in the U.S. and Canada, and approximately 87% on a worldwide basis in 2014. The renewal rate is a trailing calculation that captures renewals during the period seven to eighteen months prior to the reporting date. This method captures the annual membership cycle as the majority of members renew within the six months following their renewal date.

5


Item 1—Business (Continued)

Our membership was made up of the following (in thousands):
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Gold Star
31,600

 
28,900

 
26,700

Business
6,900

 
6,600

 
6,400

Business, add-on
3,500

 
3,500

 
3,800

     Total paid cardholders
42,000

 
39,000

 
36,900

Additional cardholders
34,400

 
32,200

 
30,100

Total cardholders
76,400

 
71,200

 
67,000

All Gold Star and Business paid cardholders are eligible to upgrade to an Executive membership in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and U.K., for an annual fee of approximately $110. Our Executive members qualify for a 2% reward on qualified purchases (up to a maximum of approximately $750 per year), which can be redeemed only at Costco warehouses. This program also offers (except in Mexico) additional savings and benefits on various business and consumer services, such as auto and home insurance, the Costco auto purchase program and check printing services. The services are generally provided by third-parties and vary by country and state. At the end of 2014, Executive members represented 39% of eligible cardholders while they represented 38% at the end of both 2013 and 2012. Executive members generally spend more than other members, and the percentage of our net sales attributable to these members continues to increase.
Labor
Our employee count was as follows:
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Full-time employees
112,000

 
103,000

 
96,000

Part-time employees
83,000

 
81,000

 
78,000

Total employees
195,000

 
184,000

 
174,000

Approximately 14,000 employees in certain of our locations in five states are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. All remaining employees are non-union. We consider our employee relations to be very good.
Competition
Our industry is highly competitive, based on factors such as price, merchandise quality and selection, location and customer service. We compete with warehouse club operations across the U.S. and Mexico (primarily Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club), and nearly every major metropolitan area has multiple club operations. In addition, we compete on a worldwide basis with global, national and regional wholesalers and retailers, including supermarkets, supercenters, department and specialty stores, gasoline stations, and internet retailers. Competitors such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s and Amazon.com are among our significant general merchandise retail competitors. We also compete with operators selling a single category or narrow range of merchandise, such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Office Depot, PetSmart, Staples, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreens, and Best Buy.
Intellectual Property
We believe that, to varying degrees, our trademarks, trade names, copyrights, proprietary processes, trade secrets, patents, trade dress, domain names and similar intellectual property add significant value to our business and are important factors in our success. We have invested significantly in the development and protection of our well-recognized brands, including the Costco Wholesale® series of trademarks and our private label brand, Kirkland Signature®. We believe that Kirkland Signature products are premium products offered to our members at prices that are generally lower than those for similar national brand products and that they help lower costs, differentiate our merchandise offerings from other retailers, and generally earn higher margins. We expect to continue to increase the sales penetration of our private label items.
We rely on trademark and copyright laws, trade secret protection, and confidentiality and license agreements with our suppliers, employees and others to protect our proprietary rights. The availability and duration of trademark registrations vary from country to country; however, trademarks are generally valid and may be renewed indefinitely as long as they are in use and their registrations are properly maintained.

6


Item 1—Business (Continued)

Available Information
Our internet website is www.costco.com. We make available through the Investor Relations section of that site, free of charge, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, Proxy Statements and Forms 3, 4 and 5, and any amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after filing such materials with, or furnishing such documents to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The information found on our website is not part of this or any other report filed with or furnished to the SEC. In addition, the public may read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, such as the Company, that file electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov.
We have adopted a code of ethics for senior financial officers pursuant to Section 406 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Copies of the code are available free of charge by writing to Secretary, Costco Wholesale Corporation, 999 Lake Drive, Issaquah, WA 98027. If the Company makes any amendments to this code (other than technical, administrative, or non-substantive amendments) or grants any waivers, including implicit waivers, from this code to the CEO, chief financial officer or principal accounting officer and controller, we will disclose (on our website or in a Form 8-K report filed with the SEC) the nature of the amendment or waiver, its effective date, and to whom it applies.
Executive Officers of the Registrant
The executive officers of Costco, their position, and ages are listed below. All executive officers have 25 or more years of service with the Company.
Name
 
Position
 
Executive
Officer
Since
 
Age
W. Craig Jelinek
 
President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Jelinek has been President and Chief Executive Officer since January 2012 and has been a director since February 2010. He was President and Chief Operating Officer from February 2010 to December 2011. Prior to that he was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Merchandising since 2004.
 
1995
 
62
Jeffrey H. Brotman
 
Chairman of the Board. Mr. Brotman is a co-founder of Costco and has been a director since its inception.
 
1983
 
72
Richard A. Galanti
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Galanti has been a director since January 1995.
 
1993
 
58
Franz E. Lazarus
 
Executive Vice President, Administration. Mr. Lazarus was Senior Vice President, Administration-Global Operations since 2006.
 
2012
 
67
John D. McKay
 
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Northern Division. Mr. McKay was Senior Vice President, General Manager, Northwest Region from 2000 to March 2010.
 
2010
 
57
Paul G. Moulton
 
Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer. Mr. Moulton was Executive Vice President, Real Estate Development until March 2010.
 
2001
 
63
James P. Murphy
 
Executive Vice President, International. Mr. Murphy was Senior Vice President, International, from September 2004 to October 2010.
 
2011
 
61
Joseph P. Portera
 
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Eastern and Canadian Divisions. Mr. Portera has held these positions since 1994, and has been the Chief Diversity Officer since 2010.
 
1994
 
62
Timothy L. Rose
 
Executive Vice President, Ancillary Businesses, Manufacturing, and Business Centers. Mr. Rose was Senior Vice President, Merchandising, Food and Sundries and Private Label from 1995 to December 2012.
 
2013
 
62
Douglas W. Schutt
 
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Merchandising. Mr. Schutt was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Northern Division and Midwest Region from 2004 to March 2010.
 
2004
 
55
Dennis R. Zook
 
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Southwest Division and Mexico.
 
1993
 
65

7


Item 1A—Risk Factors

The risks described below could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. These risks are not the only risks that we face. We could also be affected by additional factors that apply to all companies operating in the U.S. and globally, as well as other risks that are not presently known to us or that we currently consider to be immaterial. These Risk Factors should be carefully reviewed in conjunction with Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in Item 7 and our consolidated financial statements and related notes in Item 8 of this Report.
Business and Operating Risks
We are highly dependent on the financial performance of our U.S. and Canadian operations.
Our financial and operational performance is highly dependent on our U.S. and Canadian operations, which comprised 87% and 83% of consolidated net sales and operating income in 2014, respectively. Within the U.S., we are highly dependent on our California operations, which comprised 32% of U.S. net sales in 2014. Our California market, in general, has a larger percentage of higher volume warehouses as compared to our other domestic markets. Any substantial slowing or sustained decline in these operations could materially adversely affect our business and financial results. Declines in financial performance of our U.S. operations, particularly in California, and our Canadian operations could arise from, among other things: declines in actual or estimated comparable warehouse sales growth rates and expectations; negative trends in operating expenses, including increased labor, healthcare and energy costs; failing to meet targets for warehouse openings; cannibalizing existing locations with new warehouses; shifts in sales mix toward lower gross margin products; changes or uncertainties in economic conditions in our markets, including higher levels of unemployment and depressed home values; and failing to consistently provide high quality products and innovative new products to retain our existing member base and attract new members.
We may be unsuccessful implementing our growth strategy, including expanding our business, both in existing markets and in new markets, which could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our growth is dependent, in part, on our ability to acquire property and build or lease new warehouses. We compete with other retailers and businesses for suitable locations. Local land use and other regulations restricting the construction and operation of our warehouses, as well as local community actions opposed to the location of our warehouses at specific sites and the adoption of local laws restricting our operations and environmental regulations may impact our ability to find suitable locations, and increase the cost of sites and of constructing, leasing and operating our warehouses. We also may have difficulty negotiating leases or real estate purchase agreements on acceptable terms. In addition, certain jurisdictions have enacted or proposed laws and regulations that would prevent or restrict the operation or expansion plans of certain large retailers and warehouse clubs, including us, within their jurisdictions. Failure to manage these and other similar factors effectively may affect our ability to timely build or lease new warehouses, which could have a material adverse effect on our future growth and profitability.
We seek to expand our business in existing markets in order to attain a greater overall market share. A new warehouse may draw members away from our existing warehouses and adversely affect comparable warehouse sales performance and member traffic at those existing warehouses.
We intend to continue to open warehouses in new markets. The risks associated with entering a new market include difficulties in attracting members due to a lack of familiarity with us, attracting members of other wholesale club operators currently operating in the new market, our lack of familiarity with local member preferences, and seasonal differences in the market. In addition, entry into new markets may bring us into competition with new competitors or with existing competitors with a large, established market presence. In new markets, we cannot ensure that our new warehouses will be profitably deployed and, as a result, our future profitability could be delayed or otherwise materially adversely affected.
Our failure to maintain positive membership loyalty and brand recognition could adversely affect our results of operations.
Membership loyalty is essential to our business model. The extent to which we achieve growth in our membership base, increase the penetration of our executive members, and sustain high renewal rates materially influences our profitability. Damage to our brands or reputation may negatively impact comparable warehouse sales, diminish member trust, and reduce member renewal rates and, accordingly, membership fee revenues, negatively impacting our results of operations.
In addition, we sell many products under our owned and exclusive Kirkland Signature brand. Maintaining consistent product quality, competitive pricing, and availability of our Kirkland Signature products for our members is essential to developing and maintaining member loyalty. These products also generally carry higher margins than national brand products and represent

8


Item 1A—Risk Factors (Continued)

a growing portion of our overall sales. If the Kirkland Signature brand experiences a loss of member acceptance or confidence, our sales and gross margin results could be adversely affected.
Disruptions in our depot operations could adversely affect sales and member satisfaction.
We depend on the orderly operation of the merchandise receiving and distribution process, primarily through our depots. Although we believe that our receiving and distribution process is efficient, unforeseen disruptions in operations due to fires, hurricanes, earthquakes or other catastrophic events, labor shortages or shipping problems, may result in delays in the delivery of merchandise to our warehouses, which could adversely affect sales and the satisfaction of our members.
We rely extensively on computer systems to process transactions, summarize results, and manage our business. Failure to adequately update our systems and disruptions in both our primary and back-up systems could harm our ability to run our business and adversely affect our results of operations.
Given the very high volume of transactions we process each year it is important that we maintain uninterrupted operation of our business-critical computer systems. Our computer systems, including our back-up systems, are subject to damage or interruption from power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, internal or external security breaches, catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes, and errors by our employees. If our computer systems or our back-up systems are damaged or cease to function properly, we may have to make significant investments to fix or replace them, and we may suffer interruptions in our operations in the interim. Any material interruption in our computer systems could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We are currently making, and will continue to make, significant technology investments to improve or replace our information processes and systems that are key to managing our business. We must monitor and choose the right investments and implement them at the right pace. The risk of system disruption is increased when significant system changes are undertaken, although we believe that our change management process can mitigate this risk. Excessive technological change could impact the effectiveness of adoption, and could make it more difficult for us to realize benefits from the technology. Targeting the wrong opportunities, failing to make the best investments, or making an investment commitment significantly above or below our needs could result in the loss of our competitive position and adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, the potential problems and interruptions associated with implementing technology initiatives could disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations in the short term. These initiatives might not provide the anticipated benefits or may provide them on a delayed schedule or at a higher cost.
If we do not maintain the privacy and security of member-related and other business information, we could damage our reputation with members, incur substantial additional costs, and become subject to litigation.
We receive, retain, and transmit certain personal information about our members and entrust that information to third party business associates, including cloud service providers who perform activities for us. Our online business, which operates websites in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Mexico, depends upon the secure transmission of encrypted confidential information over public networks, including information permitting cashless payments. A compromise of our security systems or those of our business associates that results in our members' personal information being obtained by unauthorized persons could adversely affect our reputation with our members and others, as well as our operations, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and could result in litigation against us or the imposition of penalties. In addition, a security breach could require that we expend significant additional resources related to the security of information systems and could result in a disruption of our operations.
Additionally, the use of individually identifiable data by our business and our business associates is regulated at the national and local or state level in all of our operating countries. Privacy and information security laws and regulations change, and compliance with them may result in cost increases due to necessary systems changes and the development of new administrative processes. If we, or those with whom we share information, fail to comply with these laws and regulations or experience a data security breach, our reputation could be damaged, possibly resulting in lost future business, and we could be subjected to additional legal risk as a result of non-compliance.
Our security measures may be undermined due to the actions of outside parties, employee error, malfeasance, or otherwise, and, as a result, an unauthorized party may obtain access to our data systems and misappropriate business and personal information. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and may not immediately produce signs of intrusion, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques, timely discover them, or implement adequate preventative measures. Any such breach or unauthorized access could result in significant legal and financial exposure, damage to our reputation, and potentially have an adverse effect on our business.

9


Item 1A—Risk Factors (Continued)

We are subject to payment related risks.
We accept payments using a variety of methods, including cash and checks, a select variety of credit and debit cards, and our proprietary cash card. As we offer new payment options to our members, we may be subject to additional rules, regulations, compliance requirements, and higher fraud losses. For certain payment methods, we pay interchange and other related card acceptance fees, along with additional transaction processing fees which may increase over time and raise our operating costs. We rely on third parties to provide payment transaction processing services, including the processing of credit and debit cards, and our proprietary cash card, and it could temporarily disrupt our business if these companies become unwilling or unable to provide these services to us. We are also subject to payment card association rules and network operating rules, including data security rules, certification requirements and rules governing electronic funds transfers, which could change over time. If we fail to comply with these rules or transaction processing requirements, we may not be able to accept certain payment methods. In addition, if our internal systems are breached or compromised, we may be liable for banks' compromised card re-issuance costs, subject to fines and higher transaction fees and lose our ability to accept credit and/or debit card payments from our members, and our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
We are subject to the risks of selling unsafe products which could result in illness or injury to our members, harm our reputation, and subject us to litigation.
If our merchandise offerings, including food and prepared food products for human consumption, drugs, children's products, pet products, and durable goods do not meet or are perceived not to meet applicable safety standards or our members' expectations regarding safety, we could experience lost sales, increased costs and be exposed to legal and reputational risk. The sale of these items involves the risk of health-related illness or injury to our members. Such illnesses or injuries could result from tampering by unauthorized third parties, product contamination or spoilage, including the presence of foreign objects, substances, chemicals, other agents, or residues introduced during the growing, manufacturing, storage, handling and transportation phases, or faulty design. Our vendors are generally contractually required to comply with applicable product safety laws, and we are dependent on them to ensure that the products we buy comply with all safety standards. While we are subject to governmental inspection and regulations and work to comply in all material respects with applicable laws and regulations, we cannot be sure that consumption or use of our products will not cause a health-related illness or injury in the future or that we will not be subject to claims, lawsuits, or government investigations relating to such matters resulting in costly product recalls and other liabilities that could adversely affect our business and results of operations. Even if a product liability claim is unsuccessful or is not fully pursued, the negative publicity surrounding any assertion that our products caused illness or injury could adversely affect our reputation with existing and potential members and our corporate and brand image and these effects could be long term.
We may not timely identify or effectively respond to consumer trends, which could negatively affect our relationship with our members, the demand for our products and services, and our market share.
It is difficult to consistently and successfully predict the products and services our members will desire. Our success depends, in part, on our ability to identify and respond to trends in demographics and consumer preferences. Failure to timely identify or effectively respond to changing consumer tastes, preferences (including those relating to sustainability of product sources) and spending patterns could negatively affect our relationship with our members, the demand for our products and services and our market share. If we are not successful at predicting our sales trends and adjusting our purchases accordingly, we may have excess inventory, which could result in additional markdowns and reduce our operating performance. This could have an adverse effect on margins (net sales less merchandise costs) and operating income.
If we do not successfully develop and maintain a relevant multichannel experience for our members, our results of operations could be adversely impacted.
Multichannel retailing is rapidly evolving and we must keep pace with changing member expectations and new developments by our competitors. Our members are increasingly using computers, tablets, mobile phones, and other devices to shop online. As part of our multichannel strategy, we are making technology investments in our websites and mobile applications. If we are unable to make, improve, or develop relevant member-facing technology in a timely manner, our ability to compete and our results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our inability to attract, train and retain highly qualified employees could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our success depends to a significant degree on the continued contributions of members of our senior management and other key operations, merchandising and administrative personnel, and the loss of these contributions could have a material adverse

10


Item 1A—Risk Factors (Continued)

effect on our business. We must attract, train and retain a large and growing number of highly qualified employees, while controlling related labor costs and maintaining our core values. Our ability to control labor and benefit costs is subject to numerous external factors, including regulatory changes, prevailing wage rates, and healthcare and other insurance costs. We compete with other retail and non-retail businesses for these employees and invest significant resources in training and motivating them. There is no assurance that we will be able to attract or retain highly qualified employees in the future, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Market and Other External Risks
We face strong competition from other retailers and warehouse club operators, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The retail business is highly competitive. We compete for customers, employees, sites, products and services and in other important respects with a wide range of local, regional and national wholesalers and retailers, both in the United States and in foreign countries, including other warehouse club operators, supermarkets, supercenters, department and specialty stores, gasoline stations, and internet retailers. Such retailers and warehouse club operators compete in a variety of ways, including merchandise pricing, selection and availability, services, location, convenience, and store hours. The evolution of retailing in online and mobile channels has improved the ability of customers to comparison shop with digital devices, which has enhanced competition. Some competitors may have greater financial resources, better access to merchandise and greater market penetration than we do. Our inability to respond effectively to competitive pressures, changes in the retail markets and member expectations could result in lost market share and negatively affect our financial results.
General economic factors, domestically and internationally, may adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Higher energy and gasoline costs, inflation, levels of unemployment, healthcare costs, consumer debt levels, foreign currency exchange rates, unsettled financial markets, weaknesses in housing and real estate markets, reduced consumer confidence, changes related to government fiscal and tax policies, sovereign debt crises, and other economic factors could adversely affect demand for our products and services or require a change in the mix of products we sell. Prices of certain commodity products, including gasoline and other food products, are historically volatile and are subject to fluctuations arising from changes in domestic and international supply and demand, labor costs, competition, market speculation, government regulations, taxes and periodic delays in delivery. Rapid and significant changes in commodity prices may affect our sales and profit margins. These factors could also increase our merchandise costs and selling, general and administrative expenses, and otherwise adversely affect our operations and financial results. General economic conditions can also be affected by the outbreak of war, acts of terrorism, or other significant national or international events.
Vendors may be unable to supply us with quality merchandise at the right prices in a timely manner or may fail to adhere to our high standards resulting in adverse effects on our business, merchandise inventories, sales, and profit margins.
We depend heavily on our ability to purchase merchandise in sufficient quantities at competitive prices. We have no assurances of continued supply, pricing or access to new products, and any vendor could at any time change the terms upon which it sells to us or discontinue selling to us. Member demands may lead to out-of-stock positions of our merchandise leading to loss of sales and profits.
We purchase our merchandise from numerous domestic and foreign manufacturers and importers and have thousands of vendor relationships. Our inability to acquire suitable merchandise on acceptable terms or the loss of key vendors could negatively affect us. We may not be able to develop relationships with new vendors, and products from alternative sources, if any, may be of a lesser quality or more expensive than those from existing vendors. Because of our efforts to adhere to high quality standards for which available supply may be limited, particularly for certain food items, the large volume we demand may not be consistently available.
Our suppliers (and those they depend upon for materials and services) are subject to risks, including labor disputes, union organizing activities, financial liquidity, inclement weather, natural disasters, supply constraints, and general economic and political conditions that could limit their ability to timely provide us with acceptable merchandise. For these or other reasons, one or more of our suppliers might not adhere to our quality control, legal or regulatory standards. These deficiencies may delay or preclude delivery of merchandise to us and might not be identified before we sell such merchandise to our members. This failure could lead to litigation and recalls, which could damage our reputation and our brands, increase our costs, and otherwise adversely impact our business.

11


Item 1A—Risk Factors (Continued)

Natural disasters or other catastrophic events could negatively affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, typhoons or earthquakes, particularly in California or in Washington state, where our centralized operating systems and administrative personnel are located, could negatively affect our operations and financial performance. Such events could result in physical damage to one or more of our properties, the temporary closure of one or more warehouses or depots, the temporary lack of an adequate work force in a market, the temporary or long-term disruption in the supply of products from some local or overseas suppliers, the temporary disruption in the transport of goods to or from overseas, delays in the delivery of goods to our warehouses or depots within the countries in which we operate, and the temporary reduction in the availability of products in our warehouses. Public health issues, whether occurring in the U.S. or abroad, could disrupt our operations, disrupt the operations of suppliers or members, or have an adverse impact on consumer spending and confidence levels. These events could also reduce demand for our products or make it difficult or impossible to receive products from suppliers. We may be required to suspend operations in some or all of our locations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Factors associated with climate change could adversely affect our business.
We use natural gas, diesel fuel, gasoline, and electricity in our distribution and warehouse operations. Increased U.S. and foreign government and agency regulations to limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions may result in increased compliance costs and legislation or regulation affecting energy inputs that could materially affect our profitability. In addition, climate change could affect our ability to procure needed commodities at costs and in quantities we currently experience. We also sell a substantial amount of gasoline, the demand for which could be impacted by concerns about climate change and which also could face increased regulation. Climate change may be associated with extreme weather conditions, such as more intense hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes and snow or ice storms, as well as rising sea levels. Extreme weather conditions increase our costs and damage resulting from extreme weather may not be fully insured.
Failure to meet market expectations for our financial performance could adversely affect the market price and volatility of our stock.
We believe that the price of our stock generally reflects high market expectations for our future operating results. Any failure to meet or delay in meeting these expectations, including our comparable warehouse sales growth rates, margins, earnings and earnings per share or new warehouse openings could cause the market price of our stock to decline, as could changes in our dividend or stock repurchase policies.
Legal and Regulatory Risks
Our international operations subject us to risks associated with the legislative, judicial, accounting, regulatory, political and economic factors specific to the countries or regions in which we operate which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
During 2014, our international operations, including Canada, generated 28% of our consolidated net sales. We plan to continue expanding our international operations. As a result of these expansion activities in countries outside the U.S., we expect that our international operations could account for a larger portion of our net sales in future years. Future operating results internationally could be negatively affected by a variety of factors, many similar to those we face in the U.S., but many of which are beyond our control. These factors include political conditions, economic conditions, regulatory constraints, currency regulations and exchange rates, and other matters in any of the countries or regions in which we operate, now or in the future. Other factors that may impact international operations include foreign trade, monetary and fiscal policies and the laws and regulations of the U.S. and foreign governments, agencies and similar organizations, and risks associated with having major facilities located in countries which have been historically less stable than the U.S. Risks inherent in international operations also include, among others, the costs and difficulties of managing international operations, adverse tax consequences, and greater difficulty in enforcing intellectual property rights. Additionally, foreign currency exchange rates and fluctuations could have an adverse impact on our future costs or on future profits and cash flows from our international operations.

12


Item 1A—Risk Factors (Continued)

Changes in accounting standards and subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments by management related to complex accounting matters could significantly affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Generally accepted accounting principles and related accounting pronouncements, implementation guidelines, and interpretations with regard to a wide range of matters that are relevant to our business, including, but not limited to, revenue recognition, investments, merchandise inventories, vendor rebates and other vendor consideration, impairment of long-lived assets, self-insurance liabilities, and income taxes are highly complex and involve many subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments by our management. Changes in these rules or their interpretation or changes in underlying assumptions, estimates or judgments by our management could significantly change our reported or expected financial performance.
Provisions for losses related to self-insured risks are generally based upon independent actuarially determined estimates. The assumptions underlying the ultimate costs of existing claim losses can be highly unpredictable, which can affect the liability recorded for such claims. For example, variability in inflation rates of health care costs inherent in these claims can affect the amounts realized. Similarly, changes in legal trends and interpretations, as well as a change in the nature and method of how claims are settled can impact ultimate costs. Although our estimates of liabilities incurred do not anticipate significant changes in historical trends for these variables, any changes could have a considerable effect upon future claim costs and currently recorded liabilities and could materially impact our consolidated financial statements.
We could be subject to additional income tax liabilities.
We compute our income tax provision based on enacted tax rates in the countries in which we operate. As the tax rates vary among countries, a change in earnings attributable to the various jurisdictions in which we operate could result in an unfavorable change in our overall tax provision. Additionally, changes in the enacted tax rates, adverse outcomes in connection with income tax audits in any jurisdiction, including transfer pricing disputes, or any change in the pronouncements relating to accounting for income taxes could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Significant changes in, or failure to comply with, federal, state, regional, local and international laws and regulations relating to the use, storage, discharge and disposal of hazardous materials, hazardous and non-hazardous wastes and other environmental matters could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to a wide variety of federal, state, regional, local and international laws and regulations relating to the use, storage, discharge and disposal of hazardous materials, hazardous and non-hazardous wastes and other environmental matters. Any failure to comply with these laws could result in significant costs to satisfy environmental compliance, remediation or compensatory requirements, or the imposition of severe penalties or restrictions on operations by governmental agencies or courts that could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are involved in a number of legal proceedings and audits and some of these outcomes could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our business requires compliance with many laws and regulations. Failure to achieve compliance could subject us to lawsuits and other proceedings, and lead to damage awards, fines and penalties. We are, or may become involved, in a number of legal proceedings and audits including grand jury investigations, government and agency investigations, and consumer, employment, tort, unclaimed property laws, and other litigation (see discussion of Legal Proceedings in Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report). We cannot predict with certainty the outcomes of these legal proceedings and other contingencies, including environmental remediation and other proceedings commenced by governmental authorities. The outcome of some of these legal proceedings, audits, unclaimed property laws, and other contingencies could require us to take, or refrain from taking, actions which could negatively affect our operations or could require us to pay substantial amounts of money adversely affecting our financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, defending against these lawsuits and proceedings may involve significant expense and diversion of management's attention and resources.
Item 1B—Unresolved Staff Comments
None.

13


Item 2—Properties
Warehouse Properties
At August 31, 2014 we operated 663 membership warehouses:
NUMBER OF WAREHOUSES 
 
Own Land
and Building
 
Lease Land
and/or
Building(1)
 
Total
United States and Puerto Rico
376

 
92

 
468

Canada
77

 
11

 
88

Mexico
32

 
1

 
33

United Kingdom
21

 
5

 
26

Japan
5

 
15

 
20

Korea
5

 
6

 
11

Taiwan

 
10

 
10

Australia
5

 
1

 
6

Spain
1

 

 
1

Total
522

 
141

 
663

_______________
(1)
98 of the 141 leases are land-leases only, where Costco owns the building.
The following schedule shows warehouse openings for the past five fiscal years and expected warehouse openings through December 31, 2014:
Openings by Fiscal Year(1)
United States
 
Canada
 
Other
International(2)
 
Total
 
Total Warehouses
in Operation
2010 and prior
416

 
79

 
45

 
540

 
540

2011
13

 
3

 
36

 
52

 
592

2012
10

 

 
6

 
16

 
608

2013
12

 
3

 
11

 
26

 
634

2014
17

 
3

 
9

 
29

 
663

2015 (expected through 12/31/2014)
6

 

 
2

 
8

 
671

Total
474

 
88

 
109

 
671

 
 
_______________
(1)
Net of closings and relocations.
(2)
2011 includes 32 Mexico warehouses in operation at the beginning of the year, when we began consolidating Mexico. These 32 warehouses were opened in 2010 and prior.
At the end of 2014, our warehouses contained approximately 95.3 million square feet of operating floor space: 68.1 million in the U.S.; 12.1 million in Canada; and 15.1 million in other international locations. Additionally, we operate regional cross-docking facilities (depots) for the consolidation and distribution of most merchandise shipments to the warehouses, and various processing, packaging, and other facilities to support ancillary and other businesses, which includes our online business. We operate 23 depots consisting of approximately 9.4 million square feet. Our executive offices are located in Issaquah, Washington, and we operate 17 regional offices in the U.S., Canada and other international locations.
Item 3—Legal Proceedings
See discussion of Legal Proceedings in Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report.
Item 4—Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.

14


PART II
Item 5—Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information and Dividend Policy
Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “COST.” On October 8, 2014, we had 8,315 stockholders of record.
The following table shows the quarterly high and low closing sale prices as reported by NASDAQ for each quarter during the last two fiscal years and the quarterly cash dividend declared per share of our common stock.
 
Price Range
 
Cash
Dividends
Declared
 
 
High
 
Low
 
2014:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
$
121.62

 
$
113.87

 
$
0.355

 
Third Quarter
116.80

 
110.65

 
0.355

 
Second Quarter
125.43

 
110.18

 
0.310

 
First Quarter
125.21

 
111.50

 
0.310

 
2013:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
120.07

 
107.56

 
0.310

 
Third Quarter
109.99

 
99.45

 
0.310

 
Second Quarter
105.95

 
96.26

 
7.275

(1) 
First Quarter
102.75

 
94.47

 
0.275

 
_______________
(1)
The amount shown includes a special cash dividend of $7.00 per share.
Payment of future dividends is subject to declaration by the Board of Directors. Factors considered in determining dividends are our profitability and expected capital needs. Subject to these qualifications, we presently expect to continue to pay dividends on a quarterly basis.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The following table sets forth information on our common stock repurchase program activity for the 16-week fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 (dollars in millions, except per share data):
Period
 
Total Number of shares Purchased
 
Average Price Paid per Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Program(1)
 
Maximum Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Program
May 12, 2014—June 8, 2014
424,000

 
$115.04
 
424,000

 
$2,822
June 9, 2014—July 6, 2014
475,000

 
115.68

 
475,000

 
$2,767
July 7, 2014—August 3, 2014
272,000

 
117.43

 
272,000

 
$2,735
August 4, 2014—August 31, 2014
121,000

 
118.58

 
121,000

 
$2,721
     Total fourth quarter
1,292,000

 
$116.11
 
1,292,000

 
 
_______________
(1)
Our stock repurchase program is conducted under a $4,000 authorization of our Board of Directors approved in April 2011, which expires in April 2015.

15


Item 6—Selected Financial Data
The following table sets forth information concerning our consolidated financial condition, operating results, and key operating metrics. This information should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, included in Item 7 of this Report, and our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto, included in Item 8 of this Report.
SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
(dollars in millions, except share, per share, and warehouse count data)
 
Aug. 31, 2014
 
Sept. 1, 2013
 
Sept. 2, 2012
 
Aug. 28, 2011
 
Aug. 29, 2010
As of and for the year ended
(52 weeks)
 
(52 weeks)
 
(53 weeks)
 
(52 weeks)
 
(52 weeks)
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
$
110,212

 
$
102,870

 
$
97,062

 
$
87,048

 
$
76,255

Merchandise costs
98,458

 
91,948

 
86,823

 
77,739

 
67,995

Gross margin
11,754

 
10,922

 
10,239

 
9,309

 
8,260

Membership fees
2,428

 
2,286

 
2,075

 
1,867

 
1,691

Operating income
3,220

 
3,053

 
2,759

 
2,439

 
2,077

Net income attributable to Costco(1)
2,058

 
2,039

 
1,709

 
1,462

 
1,303

Net income per diluted common share attributable to Costco
4.65

 
4.63

 
3.89

 
3.30

 
2.92

Cash dividends declared per common share
$
1.33

 
$
8.17

 
$
1.03

 
$
0.89

 
$
0.77

Increase in comparable warehouse sales(2)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
United States
5
%
 
6
%
 
7
%
 
7
%
 
4
%
International
3
%
 
6
%
 
6
%
 
16
%
 
19
%
Total
4
%
 
6
%
 
7
%
 
10
%
 
7
%
Increase in international comparable warehouse sales in local currency
7
%
 
6
%
 
8
%
 
10
%
 
8
%
BALANCE SHEET DATA(3)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net property and equipment
$
14,830

 
$
13,881

 
$
12,961

 
$
12,432

 
$
11,314

Total assets
33,024

 
30,283

 
27,140

 
26,761

 
23,815

Current portion of long-term debt

 

 
1

 
900

 

Long-term debt, excluding current portion
5,093

 
4,998

 
1,381

 
1,253

 
2,141

Costco stockholders’ equity
$
12,303

 
$
10,833

 
$
12,361

 
$
12,002

 
$
10,829

WAREHOUSE INFORMATION
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Warehouses in Operation(4)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beginning of year(4)
634

 
608

 
592

 
572

 
527

Opened(5)
30

 
26

 
17

 
24

 
14

Closed(5)
(1
)
 
0

 
(1
)
 
(4
)
 
(1
)
End of year
663

 
634

 
608

 
592

 
540

_______________
(1)
Includes 50% of the results of Costco Mexico's operations in fiscal 2010, 2011, and in 2012 prior to the July acquisition of our former joint venture partner's 50% equity interest. The remainder of fiscal 2012 and thereafter include 100% of Costco Mexico's results of operations.
(2)
Includes net sales at warehouses open more than one year, including relocations, remodels, and expansions, as well as online sales. For fiscal 2013 and 2012, the prior year includes the comparable 52 and 53 weeks, respectively.
(3)
Excludes the balance sheet data for Costco Mexico for fiscal 2010.
(4)
Excludes in 2010 warehouses operated in Mexico through a 50% owned joint venture. Mexico opened 32 of these warehouses in 2010 and prior. The 2011 beginning-of-year figure includes these warehouses consolidated at the beginning of the fiscal year.
(5)
Includes warehouse relocations and the closure in September 2013 of the Acapulco, Mexico location due to storm damage.

16


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data)
OVERVIEW
We believe that the most important driver of increasing our profitability is sales growth, particularly comparable sales growth. We define comparable warehouse sales as sales from warehouses open for more than one year, including remodels, relocations and expansions, as well as online sales related to websites operating for more than one year. Comparable sales growth is achieved through increasing the shopping frequency from new and existing members and the amount they spend on each visit. Sales comparisons can also be particularly influenced by two factors that are beyond our control, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates (with respect to the consolidation of the results of our international operations) and changes in the cost of gasoline and associated competitive conditions (primarily impacting domestic operations). The higher our comparable sales exclusive of these items, the more we can leverage certain of our selling, general and administrative expenses, reducing them as a percentage of sales and enhancing profitability. Generating comparable sales growth is foremost a question of making available to our members the right merchandise at the right prices, a skill that we believe we have repeatedly demonstrated over the long term. Another substantial factor in sales growth is the health of the economies in which we do business, especially the United States. Sales growth and gross margins are also impacted by our competition, which is vigorous and widespread, including a wide range of global, national and regional wholesalers and retailers, including supermarkets, supercenters, department and specialty stores, gasoline stations, and internet-based retailers. While we cannot control or reliably predict general economic health or changes in competition, we believe that we have been successful historically in adapting our business to these changes, such as through adjustments to our pricing and to our merchandise mix, including increasing the penetration of our private label items.
Our philosophy is to provide our members with quality goods and services at the most competitive prices. We do not focus in the short term on maximizing prices that our members can be charged, but instead seek to maintain what we believe is a perception among our members of our “pricing authority” – consistently providing the most competitive values. Our investments in merchandise pricing can, from time to time, include reducing prices on merchandise to drive sales or meet competition and holding prices steady despite cost increases instead of passing the increases on to our members, all negatively impacting near-term gross margin as a percentage of sales. We believe our gasoline business draws members to our warehouses, but it has a lower gross margin as a percentage of net sales relative to our non-gasoline business. A higher penetration of gasoline sales will generally lower our gross margin as a percentage of net sales.
We also achieve sales growth by opening new warehouses. As our warehouse base grows however, available and desirable potential sites become more difficult and potentially more expensive to secure, and square footage growth may become a comparatively less substantial component of sales growth. The negative aspects of such growth, including lower initial operating profitability relative to existing warehouses and cannibalization of sales at existing warehouses when openings occur in existing markets, are increasingly less significant relative to the results of our total operations. Our rate of square footage growth is higher in foreign markets, due to the smaller base in those markets, and we expect that to continue.
Our membership format is an integral part of our business model and has a significant effect on our profitability. This format is designed to reinforce member loyalty and provide continuing fee revenue. The extent to which we achieve growth in our membership base, increase the penetration of our Executive members, and sustain high renewal rates, materially influences our profitability.
Our financial performance also depends heavily on our ability to control costs. While we believe that we have achieved successes in this area historically, some significant costs are partially outside our control, most particularly health care and utility expenses. With respect to expenses relating to the compensation of our employees, our philosophy is not to seek to minimize the wages and benefits that they earn. Rather, we believe that achieving our longer-term objectives of reducing employee turnover and enhancing employee satisfaction requires maintaining compensation levels that are better than the industry average for much of our workforce. This may cause us, for example, to absorb costs that other employers might seek to pass through to their workforces. Because our business is operated on very low margins, modest changes in various items in the income statement, particularly gross margin and selling, general and administrative expenses, can have substantial impacts on net income.
Our operating model is generally the same across our U.S., Canada, and Other International operating segments (see Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report). Certain countries in the Other International segment have relatively higher rates of square footage growth, lower wages and benefit costs as a percentage of country sales, and/or less direct membership warehouse competition. Additionally, we operate our gasoline business only in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and U.K.
In discussions of our consolidated operating results, we refer to the impact of changes in foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar, which are references to the differences between the foreign-exchange rates we use to convert the financial results of our international operations from local currencies into U.S. dollars for financial reporting purposes. This impact of foreign-

17


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


exchange rate changes is calculated based on the difference between the current period's currency exchange rates and the comparable prior-year period's currency exchange rates.
Our fiscal year ends on the Sunday closest to August 31. Fiscal years 2014 and 2013 were 52-week fiscal years ending on August 31, 2014, and September 1, 2013, respectively, while fiscal year 2012 was a 53-week fiscal year ending on September 2, 2012. Certain percentages presented are calculated using actual results prior to rounding. Unless otherwise noted, references to net income relate to net income attributable to Costco.
Highlights for fiscal year 2014 included:
We opened 30 new warehouses in 2014, 17 in the U.S., 3 in Canada, and 10 in our Other International segment, compared to 26 new warehouses in 2013;
Net sales increased 7% to $110,212, driven by a 4% increase in comparable sales and sales at warehouses opened in 2013 and 2014. Net and comparable sales were negatively impacted by changes in certain foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar;
Membership fees increased 6% to $2,428, primarily due to membership sign-ups at existing and new warehouses and executive membership upgrades, partially offset by the negative impact of changes in certain foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar;
Gross margin (net sales less merchandise costs) as a percentage of net sales increased four basis points;
Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses as a percentage of net sales increased seven basis points, primarily due to continued investment in modernizing our information systems;
Net income in 2014 increased to $2,058, or $4.65 per diluted share compared to $2,039, or $4.63 per diluted share in 2013. The prior year results were positively impacted by a $62 tax benefit, or $0.14 per diluted share, in connection with the special cash dividend paid to the Company's 401(k) Plan participants;
Changes in foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar adversely impacted diluted earnings per share by $0.10, primarily due to changes in the Canadian dollar; and
The Board of Directors approved an increase in the quarterly cash dividend from $0.31 to $0.355 per share in April 2014.

18


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Net Sales
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Net Sales
$
110,212

 
$
102,870

 
$
97,062

Increases in net sales:
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.
7
%
 
5
%
 
11
%
International
8
%
 
8
%
 
14
%
Total Company
7
%
 
6
%
 
12
%
Increases in comparable warehouse sales(1):
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.
5
%
 
6
%
 
7
%
International
3
%
 
6
%
 
6
%
Total Company
4
%
 
6
%
 
7
%
Increases in comparable warehouse sales excluding the impact of gasoline price and foreign currency changes(1):
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.
5
%
 
6
%
 
6
%
International
7
%
 
6
%
 
8
%
Total Company
6
%
 
6
%
 
6
%
_______________
(1)
For 2013 and 2012, the prior year includes the comparable 52 weeks and 53 weeks, respectively.
2014 vs. 2013
Net Sales
Net sales increased $7,342 or 7% during 2014. This was attributable to a 4% increase in comparable warehouse sales, and sales at warehouses opened in 2013 and 2014. Changes in foreign currencies negatively impacted net sales by approximately $1,336, or 130 basis points, compared to 2013. The negative impact was primarily due to the Canadian dollar of approximately $1,140 and the Japanese yen of approximately $311. Changes in gasoline prices negatively impacted net sales by approximately $364, or 35 basis points, due to a 3% decrease in average sales price per gallon.
Comparable Sales
Comparable sales increased 4% during 2014 and were primarily impacted by an increase in shopping frequency. Changes in foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar and gasoline prices negatively impacted comparable sales results, including the average amount spent by our members during 2014. In local currencies, International comparable sales increased 7%; 9% in Canada and 4% in our Other International segment. The increase in comparable sales also includes the negative impact of cannibalization (established warehouses losing sales to our newly opened locations), primarily in our Other International operations.
2013 vs. 2012
Net Sales
Net sales increased $5,808 or 6% during 2013. This increase was attributable to a 6% increase in comparable warehouse sales and sales at warehouses opened in 2012 and 2013, partially offset by the impact of one additional week of sales in 2012. Changes in foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar negatively impacted net sales by approximately $208, or 21 basis points during 2013. The negative impact was primarily due to the Japanese yen of approximately $354, partially offset by a positive impact of the Mexican peso of approximately $127. Changes in gasoline prices were immaterial to the change in net sales.

19


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


Comparable Sales
Comparable sales increased 6% during 2013 and were positively impacted by increases in both shopping frequency and the average amount spent by our members. Changes in foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar and gasoline prices were immaterial to the change in comparable sales. The increase in comparable sales includes the negative impact of cannibalization.
Membership Fees
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Membership fees
$
2,428

 
$
2,286

 
$
2,075

Membership fees increase
6
%
 
10
%
 
11
%
Membership fees as a percentage of net sales
2.20
%
 
2.22
%
 
2.13
%
2014 vs. 2013
Membership fees increased 6% in 2014. This increase was primarily due to membership sign-ups at existing and new warehouses and increased number of upgrades to our higher-fee Executive Membership program. The raising of our membership fees in fiscal 2012 positively impacted 2014 by $9. These increases were partially offset by changes in foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar, which negatively impacted membership fees by approximately $35 in 2014. Our member renewal rates are currently 91% in the U.S. and Canada and 87% worldwide.
We increased our annual membership fees in the U.S. and Canada effective November 1, 2011, for new members, and January 1, 2012, for renewal members. We account for membership fee revenue, net of refunds, on a deferred basis, whereby revenue is recognized ratably over the one-year membership period.
2013 vs. 2012
Membership fees increased 10% in 2013. The increase was primarily due to raising our annual membership fees and membership sign-ups at both existing and new warehouses. The fee increase had a positive impact on membership fee revenues of approximately $119 and $37 in 2013 and 2012, respectively. These increases were partially offset by the impact of one additional week of membership fees in 2012.
Gross Margin
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Net sales
$
110,212

 
$
102,870

 
$
97,062

Less merchandise costs
98,458

 
91,948

 
86,823

Gross margin
$
11,754

 
$
10,922

 
$
10,239

Gross margin as a percentage of net sales
10.66
%
 
10.62
%
 
10.55
%
2014 vs. 2013
Gross margin as a percentage of net sales increased four basis points. Gross margin in our core merchandise categories (food and sundries, hardlines, softlines, and fresh foods) when expressed as a percentage of net sales increased six basis points, primarily due to increases in our softlines and food and sundries categories, partially offset by a decrease in hardlines. Fresh foods also had a positive impact as a result of higher sales penetration. Warehouse ancillary and other businesses gross margin when expressed as a percentage of net sales increased by six basis points. Gross margin as a percentage of net sales was negatively impacted by seven basis points primarily due to a $28 LIFO inventory charge in 2014 compared to a $27 benefit in 2013 and a nonrecurring legal settlement that increased gross margin in 2013. The LIFO charge resulted from higher costs for our merchandise inventories, primarily our foods and fresh foods categories. Excluding the effect of gasoline price deflation on net sales, gross margin as a percentage of net sales increased one basis point. Changes in foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar negatively impacted gross margin by $151 in 2014.
Gross margin in our core merchandise categories when expressed as a percentage of their own merchandise category sales increased seven basis points. The changes in the individual merchandise categories are consistent with the discussion above.

20


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


When expressed as a percentage of the segment's own sales, gross margin increased in our U.S. operations, primarily due to our softlines and food and sundries categories, partially offset by a decrease in hardlines and the LIFO charge and legal settlement discussed above. The gross margin percentage in our Canadian operations decreased, primarily due to decreases in hardlines and food and sundries, partially offset by an increase in fresh foods. The gross margin percentage in our Other International segment increased, primarily due to fresh foods.
2013 vs. 2012
Gross margin as a percentage of net sales increased seven basis points. Gross margin in our core merchandise categories when expressed as a percentage of net sales decreased four basis points, primarily due to a decrease in fresh foods as a result of our continued investment in merchandise pricing. Warehouse ancillary and other businesses gross margin when expressed as a percentage of net sales increased by six basis points, predominately in our optical and hearing aid businesses. Additionally, gross margin was positively impacted by five basis points due to a $27 LIFO inventory benefit in 2013, compared to a charge of $21 in 2012, and two basis points due to a legal settlement. The LIFO benefit resulted from lower costs for our merchandise inventories, primarily hardlines. Executive Membership 2% reward program negatively impacted gross margin by two basis points, due to increased spending by Executive Members.
Gross margin for core merchandise categories when expressed as a percentage of core merchandise sales (rather than total net sales) decreased two basis points, primarily due to a decrease in fresh foods.
When expressed as a percentage of the segment’s own sales, gross margin increased in our U.S. operations primarily due to improvements in warehouse ancillary and other businesses. The LIFO benefit and legal settlement also benefited our U.S. operations. These improvements were slightly offset by a decrease in fresh foods. The gross margin percentage in our Canadian operations was flat, resulting from a decrease in fresh foods, offset by increases in warehouse ancillary and other businesses. The gross margin percentage in our Other International segment decreased, primarily in fresh foods.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
SG&A expenses
$
10,899

 
$
10,104

 
$
9,518

SG&A expenses as a percentage of net sales
9.89
%
 
9.82
%
 
9.81
%
2014 vs. 2013
SG&A expenses as a percentage of net sales increased seven basis points. Excluding the effect of gasoline price deflation on net sales, SG&A expenses as a percentage of net sales increased four basis points. This increase was largely due to an increase in central operating costs of three basis points primarily due to continued investment in modernizing our information systems, primarily incurred by our U.S. operations. Stock compensation expense was also higher by two basis points due to accelerated vesting for long service and appreciation in the trading price of our stock, despite a 14% reduction in the average number of RSUs granted to each participant. See Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report for discussion of accelerated vesting. Warehouse operating costs were lower by one basis point, primarily resulting from improvements in payroll in our Canadian operations as a result of leveraging increased sales, partially offset by increases in employee benefit costs, primarily health care, in our U.S. operations. Changes in foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar decreased our SG&A expenses by $119 in 2014.
2013 vs. 2012
SG&A expenses as a percentage of net sales increased one basis point. This increase was driven by higher stock compensation expense of three basis points, partially offset by contributions made to an initiative reforming alcohol beverage laws in Washington State in the first quarter of 2012, with no comparable charge in 2013, which resulted in a positive impact of two basis points. Central operating costs as a percent of net sales were flat, primarily due to the benefit of lower non-equity incentive compensation costs as a result of not meeting certain internal performance targets. This was offset by higher central operating costs, predominately related to the continued investment in modernizing our information systems, primarily incurred by our U.S. operations. Warehouse operating costs as a percentage of net sales were flat, primarily due to leveraging payroll costs in our U.S. and Canadian operations as a result of increased net sales which was offset by increases in other operating costs, primarily employee benefits and workers' compensation.

21


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


Preopening Expenses
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Preopening expenses
$
63

 
$
51

 
$
37

Warehouse openings, including relocations
 
 
 
 
 
United States
17

 
12

 
10

Canada
3

 
3

 
1

Other International
10

 
11

 
6

Total warehouse openings, including relocations
30

 
26

 
17

Preopening expenses include costs for startup operations related to new warehouses, development in new international markets, and expansions at existing warehouses. Preopening expenses vary due to the number of warehouse openings, the timing of the opening relative to our year-end, whether the warehouse is owned or leased, and whether the opening is in an existing, new, or international market. During the fourth quarter we opened our first warehouse in Spain.
Interest Expense
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Interest expense
$
113

 
$
99

 
$
95

Interest expense in 2014 primarily relates to our $1,100 of 5.5% Senior Notes issued in fiscal 2007 and our $3,500 of Senior notes issued in December 2012 (described in further detail under the heading “Cash Flows from Financing Activities” and in Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report).
Interest Income and Other, Net
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Interest income
$
52

 
$
44

 
$
49

Foreign-currency transaction gains, net
26

 
39

 
40

Other, net
12

 
14

 
14

Interest income and other, net
$
90

 
$
97

 
$
103

2014 vs. 2013
The increase in interest income in 2014 was primarily driven by higher average cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments balances, primarily in our U.S. operations. The decrease in net foreign-currency transaction gains was primarily attributable to the revaluation or settlement of monetary assets and monetary liabilities during the year, primarily our Japanese subsidiary's U.S. dollar-denominated payables. See Derivatives and Foreign Currency sections in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report.
2013 vs. 2012
The decrease in interest income in 2013 was primarily attributable to lower interest rates earned on our U.S. cash balances. There was a decrease in the positive impact of net foreign-currency transaction gains resulting from the revaluation or settlement of monetary assets and monetary liabilities during the year. This was partially offset by a positive impact of mark-to-market adjustments related to foreign exchange contracts entered into by our foreign subsidiaries, as the U.S. dollar was slightly stronger in certain international locations compared to 2012.

22


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


Provision for Income Taxes
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Provision for income taxes
$
1,109

 
$
990

 
$
1,000

Effective tax rate
34.7
%
 
32.4
%
 
36.1
%
Our provision for income taxes for 2013 was favorably impacted by nonrecurring net tax benefits of $77, primarily due to a $62 tax benefit recorded in connection with the special cash dividend paid to employees through our 401(k) Retirement Plan. Dividends paid on these shares are deductible for U.S. income tax purposes.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
The following table summarizes our significant sources and uses of cash and cash equivalents:
 
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
Net cash provided by operating activities
 
$
3,984

 
$
3,437

 
$
3,057

Net cash used in investing activities
 
(2,093
)
 
(2,251
)
 
(1,236
)
Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities
 
(786
)
 
44

 
(2,281
)
Our primary sources of liquidity are cash flows generated from warehouse operations, cash and cash equivalents and short-term investment balances. Cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments were $7,315 and $6,124 at the end of 2014 and 2013, respectively. Of these balances, approximately $1,383 and $1,254 at the end of 2014 and 2013, respectively, represented debit and credit card receivables, primarily related to sales in the last week of our fiscal year.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, we changed our position regarding a portion of the undistributed earnings of our Canadian operations, which is no longer considered permanently reinvested. Current exchange rates compared to historical rates when these earnings were generated resulted in an immaterial U.S. tax liability, which was recorded at the end of 2014. Canadian withholding taxes, which are creditable against federal income taxes, have also been accrued on the amount expected to be repatriated.
Management believes that our cash position and operating cash flows will be sufficient to meet our capital requirements for the foreseeable future. We have not provided for U.S. deferred taxes on cumulative undistributed earnings of certain non-U.S. consolidated subsidiaries as we deem such earnings to be indefinitely reinvested. This includes the remaining undistributed earnings of our Canadian operations that management continues to assert are indefinitely reinvested. We believe that our U.S. current and projected asset position is sufficient to meet our U.S. liquidity requirements and have no current plans to repatriate for use in the U.S. cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments held by these non-U.S. consolidated subsidiaries. Cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments held at these subsidiaries and considered to be indefinitely reinvested totaled $1,809 at August 31, 2014.
Cash Flows from Operating Activities
Net cash provided by operating activities totaled $3,984 in 2014 compared to $3,437 in 2013. Our cash flow provided by operations is primarily derived from net sales and membership fees. Our cash flow used in operations generally consists of payments to our merchandise vendors, warehouse operating costs including payroll and employee benefits, credit card processing fees, and utilities. Cash used in operations also includes payments for income taxes.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
Net cash used in investing activities totaled $2,093 in 2014 compared to $2,251 in 2013. Our cash flow used in investing activities is primarily related to funding our warehouse expansion and remodeling activities. Net cash flows from investing activities also includes purchases and maturities of short-term investments.
Capital Expenditure Plans
We opened 30 new warehouses and one new depot in 2014 and plan to open up to 35 new warehouses in 2015, including the relocation of four warehouses. Our primary requirement for capital is the financing of land, buildings, and equipment for new and remodeled warehouses. To a lesser extent, capital is required for initial warehouse operations, the modernization of our

23


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


information systems, and working capital. In 2014 we spent $1,993 on capital expenditures, and it is our current intention to spend approximately $2,500 to $2,700 during fiscal 2015. These expenditures are expected to be financed with cash to be provided from operations, existing cash and cash equivalents, and short-term investments. There can be no assurance that current expectations will be realized and plans are subject to change upon further review of our capital expenditure needs.
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Net cash used in financing activities totaled $786 in 2014 compared to $44 provided by financing activities in 2013. The primary uses of cash in 2014 were dividend payments, repurchases of common stock, and payment of withholding taxes on stock-based awards. The net cash provided by financing activities in 2013 primarily resulted from the proceeds of the issuance of $3,500 in aggregate principal amount of Senior Notes, which were used to fund a one-time special cash dividend of $3,049 in December 2012. These cash flows did not recur in 2014.
Stock Repurchase Programs
During 2014 and 2013, we repurchased 2,915,000 and 357,000 shares of common stock, at an average price of $114.45 and $96.41, totaling approximately $334 and $34, respectively. The remaining amount available to be purchased under our approved plan was $2,721 at the end of 2014. Purchases are made from time-to-time, as conditions warrant, in the open market or in block purchases and pursuant to plans under SEC Rule 10b5-1. Repurchased shares are retired, in accordance with the Washington Business Corporation Act.
Dividends
In April 2014, our Board of Directors increased our quarterly cash dividend from $0.31 to $0.355 per share. Our cash dividends paid in 2014 totaled $1.33 per share, as compared to $8.17 per share in 2013, which included a special cash dividend of $7.00 per share.
Bank Credit Facilities and Commercial Paper Programs
We maintain bank credit facilities for working capital and general corporate purposes. At August 31, 2014, we had borrowing capacity within these facilities of $451, of which $381 was maintained by our international operations. Of the $381, $180 is guaranteed by the Company. There were no outstanding short-term borrowings under the bank credit facilities at the end of 2014 and $36 outstanding at the end of 2013.
The Company has letter of credit facilities, for commercial and standby letters of credit, totaling $154. The outstanding commitments under these facilities at the end of 2014 totaled $95, including $91 in standby letters of credit with expiration dates within one year. The bank credit facilities have various expiration dates, all within one year, and we generally intend to renew these facilities prior to their expiration. The amount of borrowings available at any time under our bank credit facilities is reduced by the amount of standby and commercial letters of credit then outstanding.

24


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


Contractual Obligations
As of August 31, 2014, our commitments to make future payments under contractual obligations were as follows: 
 
Payments Due by Fiscal Year
Contractual obligations
2015
 
2016 to 2017
 
2018 to 2019
 
2020 and thereafter
 
Total
Purchase obligations (merchandise)(1)
$
5,671

 
$
4

 
$

 
$

 
$
5,675

Long-term debt(2)
107

 
2,598

 
1,348

 
1,432

 
5,485

Operating leases (3) 
196

 
382

 
353

 
2,127

 
3,058

Purchase obligations (property, equipment, services and other)(4)
414

 
64

 
3

 

 
481

Capital lease obligations(2)
17

 
32

 
34

 
327

 
410

Construction commitments
240

 

 

 

 
240

Other(5)

 
29

 
16

 
58

 
103

Total
$
6,645

 
$
3,109

 
$
1,754

 
$
3,944

 
$
15,452

_______________
(1)
Includes only open merchandise purchase orders.
(2)
Includes contractual interest payments.
(3)
Operating lease obligations exclude amounts for common area maintenance, taxes, and insurance and have been reduced by $149 to reflect sub-lease income.
(4)
The amounts exclude certain services negotiated at the individual warehouse or regional level that are not significant and generally contain clauses allowing for cancellation without significant penalty.
(5)
Includes $55 in asset retirement obligations and $48 in deferred compensation obligations. The total amount excludes $54 of non-current unrecognized tax contingencies and $25 of other obligations due to uncertainty regarding the timing of future cash payments.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We have no off-balance sheet arrangements that in the opinion of management have had, or are reasonably likely to have, a material current or future effect on our financial condition or consolidated financial statements.
Critical Accounting Estimates
The preparation of our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP) requires that we make estimates and judgments. We continue to review our accounting policies and evaluate our estimates, including those related to revenue recognition, investments, merchandise inventory valuation, impairment of long-lived assets, insurance/self-insurance liabilities, and income taxes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on assumptions that we believe to be reasonable. For further information on significant accounting policies, see discussion in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report.
Revenue Recognition
We generally recognize sales, which include shipping fees where applicable, net of returns, at the time the member takes possession of merchandise or receives services. When we collect payment from customers prior to the transfer of ownership of merchandise or the performance of services, the amount received is generally recorded as deferred revenue in the consolidated balance sheets until the sale or service is completed. We provide for estimated sales returns based on historical trends in merchandise returns, net of the estimated net realizable value of merchandise inventories to be returned and any estimated disposition costs. Amounts collected from members that under common trade practices are referred to as sales taxes are recorded on a net basis.
We evaluate whether it is appropriate to record the gross amount of merchandise sales and related costs or the net amount earned. Generally, when we are the primary obligor, subject to inventory risk, have latitude in establishing prices and selecting suppliers, influence product or service specifications, or have several but not all of these indicators, revenue and related shipping fees are recorded on a gross basis. If we are not the primary obligor and do not possess other indicators of gross reporting as noted above, we record the net amounts earned, which is reflected in net sales.

25


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


We account for membership fee revenue, net of refunds, on a deferred basis, whereby revenue is recognized ratably over the one-year membership period. Our Executive members qualify for a 2% reward on qualified purchases (up to a maximum of approximately $750 per year), which can be redeemed only at Costco warehouses. We account for this reward as a reduction in sales. The sales reduction and corresponding liability are computed after giving effect to the estimated impact of non-redemptions based on historical data.
Investments
Investments are reviewed quarterly for indicators of other-than-temporary impairment. This determination requires significant judgment. We employ a methodology that considers available quantitative and qualitative evidence. If the cost of an investment exceeds its fair value, we evaluate, among other factors, general market conditions, the duration and extent to which the fair value is less than cost, and our intent and ability to hold the investment. We also consider specific adverse conditions related to the financial health of and business outlook for the issuer, including industry and sector performance, operational and financing cash flow factors, and rating agency actions. Once a decline in fair value is determined to be other-than-temporary, an impairment charge is recorded and a new cost basis in the investment is established.
Merchandise Inventories
Merchandise inventories are valued at the lower of cost or market, as determined primarily by the retail inventory method, and are stated using the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method for substantially all U.S. merchandise inventories. Merchandise inventories for all foreign operations are primarily valued by the retail inventory method and are stated using the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method. We believe the LIFO method more fairly presents the results of operations by more closely matching current costs with current revenues. We record an adjustment each quarter, if necessary, for the estimated effect of inflation or deflation, and these estimates are adjusted to actual results determined at year-end.
We provide for estimated inventory losses (shrink) between physical inventory counts as a percentage of net sales. The provision is adjusted periodically to reflect results of the actual physical inventory counts, which generally occur in the second and fourth quarters of the year.
Inventory cost, where appropriate, is reduced by estimates of vendor rebates when earned or as we progress toward earning those rebates, provided they are probable and reasonably estimable. Other consideration received from vendors is generally recorded as a reduction of merchandise costs upon completion of contractual milestones, terms of agreement, or other systematic and rational approaches.
Impairment of Long-Lived Assets
We evaluate our long-lived assets for impairment on an annual basis, when relocating or closing a facility, or when events or changes in circumstances occur that may indicate the carrying amount of the asset group, generally an individual warehouse, may not be fully recoverable. Our judgments are based on existing market and operational conditions. Future events could cause us to conclude that impairment factors exist, requiring a downward adjustment of these assets to their then-current fair market value.
Insurance/Self-Insurance Liabilities
We use a combination of insurance and self-insurance mechanisms, including for certain risks, a wholly-owned captive insurance subsidiary and participation in a reinsurance pool, to provide for potential liabilities for workers’ compensation, general liability, property damage, directors’ and officers’ liability, vehicle liability, and employee health care benefits. Liabilities associated with the risks that we retain are not discounted and are estimated, in part, by considering historical claims experience, demographic factors, severity factors and other actuarial assumptions. The estimated accruals for these liabilities could be significantly affected if future occurrences and claims differ from these assumptions and historical trends.
Income Taxes
The determination of our provision for income taxes requires significant judgment, the use of estimates, and the interpretation and application of complex tax laws. Significant judgment is required in assessing the timing and amounts of deductible and taxable items and the probability of sustaining uncertain tax positions. The benefits associated with uncertain tax positions are recorded in our consolidated financial statements only after determining a more-likely-than-not probability that the positions will withstand challenge from tax authorities. When facts and circumstances change, we reassess these probabilities and record any changes in the consolidated financial statements as appropriate.

26


Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (amounts in millions, except per share, share, membership fee, and warehouse count data) (Continued)


Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report for a detailed description of recent accounting pronouncements.
Item 7A—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk (amounts in millions)
Our exposure to financial market risk results from fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates. We do not engage in speculative or leveraged transactions or hold or issue financial instruments for trading purposes.
Interest Rate Risk
Our exposure to market risk for changes in interest rates relates primarily to our investment holdings that are diversified among various instruments considered to be cash equivalents as defined in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report, as well as short-term investments in government and agency securities, and asset and mortgage-backed securities with effective maturities of generally three months to five years at the date of purchase. The primary objective of our investment activities is to preserve principal and secondarily to generate yields. The majority of our short-term investments are in fixed interest rate securities. These securities are subject to changes in fair value due to interest rate fluctuations.
Our Board of Directors have approved a policy that limits investments in the U.S. to direct U.S. government and government agency obligations, repurchase agreements collateralized by U.S. government and government agency obligations, and U.S. government and government agency money market funds. Our wholly-owned captive insurance subsidiary invests in U.S. government and government agency obligations, corporate notes and bonds, and asset and mortgage-backed securities with a minimum overall portfolio average credit rating of AA+.
Our Canadian and other international subsidiaries’ investments are primarily in money market funds, bankers’ acceptances and bank certificates of deposit, generally denominated in their local currencies.
We performed a sensitivity analysis to determine the impact that a 100 basis-point change in interest rates would have on the value of our investment portfolio. At the end of 2014, the incremental change in the fair market value was immaterial. For those investments that are classified as available-for-sale, the unrealized gains or losses related to fluctuations in market volatility and interest rates are reflected within stockholders’ equity in accumulated other comprehensive income.
The nature and amount of our long-term debt may vary as a result of future business requirements, market conditions, and other factors. As of the end of 2014, the majority of our long-term debt is fixed rate Senior Notes, carried at $4,596. Fluctuations in interest rates may affect the fair value of the fixed-rate debt. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report for more information on our long-term debt.
Foreign Currency-Exchange Risk
Our foreign subsidiaries conduct certain transactions in their non-functional currencies, which exposes us to fluctuations in exchange rates. We manage these fluctuations, in part, through the use of forward foreign-exchange contracts, seeking to economically hedge the impact of fluctuations of foreign exchange on known future expenditures denominated in a non-functional foreign-currency. The contracts are intended primarily to economically hedge exposure to U.S. dollar merchandise inventory expenditures made by our international subsidiaries whose functional currency is other than the U.S. dollar. Currently, these contracts do not qualify for derivative hedge accounting. We seek to mitigate risk with the use of these contracts and do not intend to engage in speculative transactions. These contracts do not contain any credit-risk-related contingent features.
While we seek to manage counterparty risk associated with these contracts by limiting transactions to counterparties with which we have established banking relationships, there can be no assurance that this practice is effective. These contracts are limited to less than one year in duration. See Note 1 and Note 3 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Report for additional information on the fair value of unsettled forward foreign-exchange contracts at the end of 2014 and 2013. A hypothetical 10% strengthening of the functional currency compared to the non-functional currency exchange rates at August 31, 2014 would have decreased the fair value of the contracts by $56 and resulted in an unrealized loss in the consolidated statements of income for the same amount.
Commodity Price Risk
We are exposed to fluctuations in prices for energy that we consume, particularly electricity and natural gas, which we seek to partially mitigate through fixed-price contracts for certain of our warehouses and other facilities, predominately in the U.S. and Canada. We also enter into variable-priced contracts for some purchases of electricity and natural gas, in addition to fuel

27


Item 7A—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk (amounts in millions)(Continued)

for our gas stations, on an index basis. These contracts meet the characteristics of derivative instruments, but generally qualify for the “normal purchases or normal sales” exception under authoritative guidance and, thus, require no mark-to-market adjustment.
Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
The following documents are filed as part of Part II, Item 8 of this Report on the pages listed below:
Management’s Report on the Consolidated Financial Statements
Costco’s management is responsible for the preparation, integrity and objectivity of the accompanying consolidated financial statements and the related financial information. The consolidated financial statements have been prepared in conformity with U.S. GAAP and necessarily include certain amounts that are based on estimates and informed judgments. The Company’s management is also responsible for the preparation of the related financial information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and its accuracy and consistency with the consolidated financial statements.
The consolidated financial statements have been audited by KPMG LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, who conducted their audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). The independent registered public accounting firm’s responsibility is to express an opinion as to the fairness with which such consolidated financial statements present our financial position, results of operations and cash flows in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Item 9—Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
None.

28


Item 9A—Controls and Procedures
Disclosure Controls and Procedures
As of the end of the period covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we performed an evaluation under the supervision and with the participation of management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) or 15d-15(e) under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (the Exchange Act)). Based upon that evaluation, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer concluded that, as of the end of the period covered by this Annual Report, our disclosure controls and procedures are effective.
There has been no change in our internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Rules 13a-15(f) or 15d-15(f) of the Exchange Act) during our fiscal quarter ended August 31, 2014, that has materially affected or is reasonably likely to materially affect our internal control over financial reporting.
Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) under the Exchange Act. Our internal control over financial reporting is designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with U.S. GAAP and includes those policies and procedures that: (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that in reasonable detail accurately and fairly reflect our transactions and the dispositions of our assets; (2) provide reasonable assurance that our transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and that our receipts and expenditures are being made only in accordance with appropriate authorizations; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use or disposition of our assets that could have a material effect on our financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and presentation.
Under the supervision and with the participation of our management, we assessed the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of August 31, 2014, using the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) in Internal Control—Integrated Framework (1992). Based on its assessment, management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of August 31, 2014. The attestation of KPMG LLP, our independent registered public accounting firm, on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting is included with the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 of this Report.
/s/    W. CRAIG JELINEK
 
W. Craig Jelinek
 
President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
 
/s/    RICHARD A. GALANTI
 
Richard A. Galanti
 
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Director
 
Item 9B—Other Information
None.

29


PART III
Item 10—Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Information relating to the availability of our code of ethics for senior financial officers and a list of our executive officers appear in Item 1 of this Report. The information required by this Item concerning our directors and nominees for director is incorporated herein by reference to the sections entitled “Proposal 1: Election of Directors,” “Directors,” “Committees of the Board” and “Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance” in Costco’s Proxy Statement for its 2015 annual meeting of stockholders, which will be filed with the SEC within 120 days of the end of our fiscal year (“Proxy Statement”).
Item 11—Executive Compensation
The information required by this Item is incorporated herein by reference to the sections entitled “Compensation of Directors,” “Executive Compensation,” and “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” in Costco’s Proxy Statement.
Item 12—Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
The information required by this Item is incorporated herein by reference to the section entitled “Principal Shareholders” and “Equity Compensation Plan Information” in Costco’s Proxy Statement.
Item 13—Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
The information required by this Item is incorporated herein by reference to the sections entitled “Proposal 1: Election of Directors,” “Directors,” “Committees of the Board,” “Shareholder Communications to the Board,” “Meeting Attendance,” “Report of the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors,” “Certain Relationships and Transactions” and “Report of the Audit Committee” in Costco’s Proxy Statement.
Item 14—Principal Accounting Fees and Services
The information required by this Item is incorporated herein by reference to the sections entitled “Independent Public Accountants” in Costco’s Proxy Statement.
PART IV
Item 15—Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules
(a)
Documents filed as part of this report are as follows:
1.
Financial Statements:
See the listing of Financial Statements included as a part of this Form 10-K on Item 8 of Part II.
2.Financial Statement Schedules:
All schedules have been omitted because the required information is not present or is not present in amounts sufficient to require submission of the schedule, or because the information required is included in the consolidated financial statements, including the notes thereto.
3.Exhibits:
The required exhibits are included at the end of the Form 10-K Annual Report and are described in the Exhibit Index immediately preceding the first exhibit.
(b)
Financial Statement Schedules—None.

30


SIGNATURES
Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
October 15, 2014
 
COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
(Registrant)
 
 
 
 
By
 
/s/ RICHARD A. GALANTI
 
 
 
Richard A. Galanti
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Director
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, this report has been signed below by the following persons on behalf of the registrant and in the capacities and on the dates indicated.
By
 
/s/ W. CRAIG JELINEK
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
W. Craig Jelinek
President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/s/ JEFFREY H. BROTMAN
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Jeffrey H. Brotman
Chairman of the Board
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/s/ RICHARD A. GALANTI
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Richard A. Galanti
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Director (Principal Financial Officer)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/s/ DAVID S. PETTERSON
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
David S. Petterson
Senior Vice President and Controller
(Principal Accounting Officer)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/s/ BENJAMIN S. CARSON, SR., M.D.
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D.
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/s/ SUSAN L. DECKER
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Susan L. Decker
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/s/ DANIEL J. EVANS
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Daniel J. Evans
Director
 
 
 
 

31


By
 
/S/ WILLIAM H. GATES
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
William H. Gates
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/S/ HAMILTON E. JAMES
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Hamilton E. James
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/S/ RICHARD M. LIBENSON
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Richard M. Libenson
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/S/ JOHN W. MEISENBACH
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
John W. Meisenbach
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/S/ CHARLES T. MUNGER
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Charles T. Munger
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/S/ JEFFREY S. RAIKES
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Jeffrey S. Raikes
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/S/ JILL S. RUCKELSHAUS
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
Jill S. Ruckelshaus
Director
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
/S/ JAMES D. SINEGAL
 
 
 
October 15, 2014
 
 
James D. Sinegal
Director
 
 
 
 

32


REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
The Board of Directors and Stockholders
Costco Wholesale Corporation:
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Costco Wholesale Corporation and subsidiaries as of August 31, 2014 and September 1, 2013, and the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, equity, and cash flows for the 52-week periods ended August 31, 2014 and September 1, 2013, and the 53-week period ended September 2, 2012. These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements based on our audits.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Costco Wholesale Corporation and subsidiaries as of August 31, 2014 and September 1, 2013, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for the 52-week periods ended August 31, 2014 and September 1, 2013, and the 53-week period ended September 2, 2012, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), Costco Wholesale Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting as of August 31, 2014, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (1992) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), and our report dated October 15, 2014 expressed an unqualified opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.

/s/ KPMG LLP
Seattle, Washington
October 15, 2014

33


REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
The Board of Directors and Stockholders
Costco Wholesale Corporation
We have audited Costco Wholesale Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting as of August 31, 2014 based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework (1992) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying management’s annual report on internal control over financial reporting included in Item 9A. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audit also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
In our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of August 31, 2014, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (1992).
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), the consolidated balance sheets of the Company as of August 31, 2014 and September 1, 2013, and the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, equity, and cash flows for each of the 52-week periods ended August 31, 2014 and September 1, 2013, and the 53-week period ended September 2, 2012, and our report dated October 15, 2014 expressed an unqualified opinion on those consolidated financial statements.

/s/ KPMG LLP
Seattle, Washington
October 15, 2014

34


COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(amounts in millions, except par value and share data)
 
August 31,
2014
 
September 1,
2013
ASSETS
 
 
 
CURRENT ASSETS
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
5,738

 
$
4,644

Short-term investments
1,577

 
1,480

Receivables, net
1,148

 
1,201

Merchandise inventories
8,456

 
7,894

Deferred income taxes and other current assets
669

 
621

Total current assets
17,588

 
15,840

PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT
 
 
 
Land
4,716

 
4,409

Buildings and improvements
12,522

 
11,556

Equipment and fixtures
4,845

 
4,472

Construction in progress
592

 
585

 
22,675

 
21,022

Less accumulated depreciation and amortization
(7,845
)
 
(7,141
)
Net property and equipment
14,830

 
13,881

OTHER ASSETS
606

 
562

TOTAL ASSETS
$
33,024

 
$
30,283

LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
 
 
 
CURRENT LIABILITIES
 
 
 
Accounts payable
$
8,491

 
$
7,872

Accrued salaries and benefits
2,231

 
2,037

Accrued member rewards
773

 
710

Accrued sales and other taxes
442

 
382

Deferred membership fees
1,254

 
1,167

Other current liabilities
1,221

 
1,089

Total current liabilities
14,412

 
13,257

LONG-TERM DEBT, excluding current portion
5,093

 
4,998

DEFERRED INCOME TAXES AND OTHER LIABILITIES
1,004

 
1,016

Total liabilities
20,509

 
19,271

COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES


 


EQUITY
 
 
 
Preferred stock $.005 par value; 100,000,000 shares authorized; no shares issued and outstanding
0

 
0

Common stock $.005 par value; 900,000,000 shares authorized; 437,683,000 and 436,839,000 shares issued and outstanding
2

 
2

Additional paid-in capital
4,919

 
4,670

Accumulated other comprehensive loss
(76
)
 
(122
)
Retained earnings
7,458

 
6,283

Total Costco stockholders’ equity
12,303

 
10,833

Noncontrolling interests
212

 
179

Total equity
12,515

 
11,012

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
$
33,024

 
$
30,283




The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

35


COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(amounts in millions, except per share data)
 
 
52 Weeks Ended
 
52 Weeks Ended
 
53 Weeks Ended
 
August 31,
2014
 
September 1,
2013
 
September 2,
2012
REVENUE
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
$
110,212

 
$
102,870

 
$
97,062

Membership fees
2,428

 
2,286

 
2,075

Total revenue
112,640

 
105,156

 
99,137

OPERATING EXPENSES
 
 
 
 
 
Merchandise costs
98,458

 
91,948

 
86,823

Selling, general and administrative
10,899

 
10,104

 
9,518

Preopening expenses
63

 
51

 
37

Operating income
3,220

 
3,053

 
2,759

OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE)
 
 
 
 
 
Interest expense
(113
)
 
(99
)
 
(95
)
Interest income and other, net
90

 
97

 
103

INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES
3,197

 
3,051

 
2,767

Provision for income taxes
1,109

 
990

 
1,000

Net income including noncontrolling interests
2,088

 
2,061

 
1,767

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests
(30
)
 
(22
)
 
(58
)
NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO COSTCO
$
2,058

 
$
2,039

 
$
1,709

NET INCOME PER COMMON SHARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO COSTCO:
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
$
4.69

 
$
4.68

 
$
3.94

Diluted
$
4.65

 
$
4.63

 
$
3.89

Shares used in calculation (000’s)
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
438,693

 
435,741

 
433,620

Diluted
442,485

 
440,512

 
439,373

CASH DIVIDENDS DECLARED PER COMMON SHARE
$
1.33

 
$
8.17

 
$
1.03










The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

36


COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(amounts in millions)

 
 
52 Weeks Ended
 
52 Weeks Ended
 
53 Weeks Ended
 
August 31,
2014
 
September 1,
2013
 
September 2,
2012
NET INCOME INCLUDING NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS
$
2,088

 
$
2,061

 
$
1,767

Foreign-currency translation adjustment and other, net
49

 
(278
)
 
(96
)
Comprehensive income
2,137

 
1,783

 
1,671

Less: Comprehensive income attributable to noncontrolling interests
33

 
22

 
24

COMPREHENSIVE INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO COSTCO
$
2,104

 
$
1,761

 
$
1,647












































The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

37


COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EQUITY
(amounts in millions)

 
Common Stock
 
Additional
Paid-in
Capital
 
Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Income (Loss)
 
Retained
Earnings
 
Total Costco
Stockholders’
Equity
 
Noncontrolling
Interests
 
Total
Equity
 
Shares (000’s)
 
Amount
 
BALANCE AT AUGUST 28, 2011
434,266

 
$
2

 
$
4,516

 
$
373

 
$
7,111

 
$
12,002

 
$
571

 
$
12,573

Net income

 

 

 

 
1,709

 
1,709

 
58

 
1,767

Foreign-currency translation adjustment and other, net

 

 

 
(62
)
 

 
(62
)
 
(34
)
 
(96
)
Stock-based compensation

 

 
241

 

 

 
241

 

 
241

Stock options exercised, including tax effects
2,756

 
 
 
142

 

 

 
142

 

 
142

Release of vested restricted stock units (RSUs), including tax effects
2,554

 

 
(76
)
 

 

 
(76
)
 

 
(76
)
Conversion of convertible notes
46

 

 
2

 

 

 
2

 

 
2

Repurchases of common stock
(7,272
)
 

 
(77
)
 

 
(540
)
 
(617
)
 

 
(617
)
Cash dividends declared

 

 

 

 
(446
)
 
(446
)
 

 
(446
)
Distribution to noncontrolling interest

 

 

 

 

 

 
(183
)
 
(183
)
Purchase of noncontrolling interest in Costco Mexico

 

 
(379
)
 
(155
)
 

 
(534
)
 
(255
)
 
(789
)
BALANCE AT SEPTEMBER 2, 2012
432,350

 
2

 
4,369

 
156

 
7,834

 
12,361

 
157

 
12,518

Net income

 

 

 

 
2,039

 
2,039

 
22

 
2,061

Foreign-currency translation adjustment and other, net

 

 

 
(278
)
 

 
(278
)
 

 
(278
)
Stock-based compensation

 

 
285

 

 

 
285

 

 
285

Stock options exercised, including tax effects
1,435

 

 
75

 

 

 
75

 

 
75

Release of vested RSUs, including tax effects
2,609

 

 
(85
)
 

 

 
(85
)
 

 
(85
)
Conversion of convertible notes
802

 

 
30

 

 

 
30

 

 
30

Repurchases of common stock
(357
)
 

 
(4
)
 

 
(30
)
 
(34
)
 

 
(34
)
Cash dividends declared

 

 

 

 
(3,560
)
 
(3,560
)
 

 
(3,560
)
BALANCE AT SEPTEMBER 1, 2013
436,839

 
2

 
4,670

 
(122
)
 
6,283

 
10,833

 
179

 
11,012

Net income

 

 

 

 
2,058

 
2,058

 
30

 
2,088

Foreign-currency translation adjustment and other, net

 

 

 
46

 

 
46

 
3

 
49

Stock-based compensation

 

 
327

 

 

 
327

 

 
327

Stock options exercised, including tax effects
971

 

 
58

 

 

 
58

 

 
58

Release of vested RSUs, including tax effects
2,770

 

 
(102
)
 

 

 
(102
)
 

 
(102
)
Conversion of convertible notes
18

 

 
1

 

 

 
1

 

 
1

Repurchases of common stock
(2,915
)
 

 
(35
)
 

 
(299
)
 
(334
)
 

 
(334
)
Cash dividends declared

 

 

 

 
(584
)
 
(584
)
 

 
(584
)
BALANCE AT AUGUST 31, 2014
437,683

 
$
2

 
$
4,919

 
$
(76
)
 
$
7,458

 
$
12,303

 
$
212

 
$
12,515



The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

38


COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(amounts in millions)
 
52 Weeks Ended
 
52 Weeks Ended
 
53 Weeks Ended
 
August 31,
2014
 
September 1,
2013
 
September 2,
2012
CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES
 
 
 
 
 
Net income including noncontrolling interests
$
2,088

 
$
2,061

 
$
1,767

Adjustments to reconcile net income including noncontrolling interests to net cash provided by operating activities:
 
 
 
 
 
Depreciation and amortization
1,029

 
946

 
908

Stock-based compensation
327

 
285

 
241

Excess tax benefits on stock-based awards
(84
)
 
(61
)
 
(64
)
Other non-cash operating activities, net
22

 
(7
)
 
28

Deferred income taxes
(63
)
 
7

 
(3
)
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:
 
 
 
 
 
Increase in merchandise inventories
(563
)
 
(898
)
 
(490
)
Increase in accounts payable
529

 
718

 
338

Other operating assets and liabilities, net
699

 
386

 
332

Net cash provided by operating activities
3,984

 
3,437

 
3,057

CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES