Case #4 - Competition Among the North American Warehouse Clubs

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The competition in the American Warehouse Club Industry is based on factors such as price, merchandise quality and selection, location, and member service. They also had competition from retail discounters like Wal-Mart and Dollar General, general merchandise chains like Target and Kohl’s, specialty chains like Office Depot and Staples in office supplies and Best Buy in electronics and DVDs, supermarkets, gasoline stations, and Internet retailers. The strongest competitive industry force is competition between like firms. This is because all three of the wholesale clubs are so similar. They all had low prices, warehouses ranging from 70,000 to 130,000 sq ft (some up to 160,000), and very low operating costs, sell products in bulk packaging and offer membership. They are all so alike that it pretty came down to which ever store a customer went to first they would stick with. All three wholesale clubs have similar strategies. They sold high-quality brand-name merchandise at prices that were significantly lower than those at supermarkets, discount retail chains, department stores, drugstores, and specialty retail stores like Best Buy. But BJ’s expanded their strategy a little more. It focused on its Inner Circle members through merchandising strategies that emphasized a customer-friendly shopping experience. Club locations were clustered in order to benefit from greater name recognition and maximize the efficiencies of management support, distribution, and marketing activities. BJ’s strove to establish and maintain the first or second industry leading position in each major market area where it operated. I think Costco has had the strongest financial performance in recent years because they have opened 265 new warehouses since 2000 and more than doubled their company revenues from $31.6 billion to $71.4 billion. Costco is responsible for

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