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Firm Level analysis

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Answer in 200 words each:

a) Categorize the major sources of Costco’s strategy into three hypotheses – resources, knowledge/ capabilities, and integration/ core competences.

{To answer this, you may prepare a brief table like follows

Resources — [Identify resources of Costco and how it uses them strategically]

Knowledge/ Capabilities – [Identify knowledge/ capabilities of Costco, and how it uses them strategically]

Integration/ core competencies – [Identify integration/ core competencies of Costco, and how it uses them strategically]

b)  identify at least three reasons for the entropy faced by Ford in the past giving specific examples observed from the video.    Identify the different types of change/ dynamic capability Ford leveraged to rebuild itself.

c) Compare and contrast the type of marketplace in which Costco operates with that of Ford.   How do these different marketplaces influence the behaviors of these two firms?

Firm Level analysis
C-2 Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy J im Sinegal, cofounder and CEO of Costco Wholesale, was the driving force behind Costco’s 23-year march to become the fourth largest re- tailer in the United States and the seventh larg- est in the world. He was far from the stereotypical CEO. A grandfatherly 70-year-old, Sinegal dressed casually and unpretentiously, often going to the of ce or touring Costco stores wearing an open- collared cotton shirt that came from a Costco bargain rack and sporting a standard employee name tag that said, simply, “Jim.” His informal dress, mustache, gr ay hair, and unimposing appearance made it easy for Costco shoppers to mistake him for a store clerk. He answered his own phone, once telling ABC News reporters, “If a customer’s calling and they have a g ripe, don’t you think they kind of enjoy the fact that I picked up the phone and talked to them?” 1 Sinegal spent much of his time touring Costco stores, using the company plane to y from location to location and sometimes visiting 8 to 10 stores daily (the record for a single day was 12). Treated like a celebrity when he appeared at a store (the news “Jim’s in the store” spread quickly), Sinegal made a point of g reeting store employees. He observed, “The employ- ees know that I want to say hello to them, because I like them. We have said from the very beginning: ‘We’re going to be a company that’s on a rst-name basis with everyone.’ ” 2 Employees genuinely seemed to like Sinegal. He talked quietly, in a commonsensi- cal manner that suggested what he was saying was no big deal. 3 He came across as kind yet stern, but he was prone to display irritation when he disagreed sharply with what people were saying to him. In touring a Costco store with the local store man- ager, Sinegal was very much the person-in-charge. He functioned as producer, director, and knowledgeable critic. He cut to the chase quickly, exhibiting intense attention to detail and pricing, wandering through store aisles ring a barrage of questions at store man- agers about sales volumes and stock levels of partic- ular items, critiquing merchandising displays or the position of certain products in the stores, comment- ing on any aspect of store operations that caught his ey e, and asking managers to do further research and get back to him with more information whenever he found their answers to his questions less than satisfy- ing. It was readily apparent that Sinegal had tremen- dous merchandising savvy, that he demanded much of store managers and employees, and that his views about discount retailing set the tone for how the com- pany operated. Knowledgeable observers regarded Jim Sinegal’s merchandising expertise as being on a par with that of the legendary Sam Walton. In 2006, Costco’s sales totaled almost $59 bil- lion at 496 stores in 37 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Mexico. About 26 million households and 5.2 mil- lion businesses had membership cards entitling them to shop at Costco, generating nearly $1.2 billion in membership fees for the company. Annual sales per store averaged about $128 million, nearly dou- b le the $67 million gure for Sam’s Club, Costco’s chief competitor in the membership warehouse re- tail segment. Arthur A. Thompson Jr. The University of Alabama Copyright © 2007 by Arthur A. Thompson. All rights reserved. tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 2 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 2 8/2/07 3:39:57 PM 8/2/07 3:39:57 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy C-3 COMPANY BACKGROUND The membership warehouse concept was pioneered by discount merchandising sage Sol Price, who opened the rst Price Club in a converted airplane hangar on Morena Boulevard in San Diego in 1976. Price Club lost $750,000 in its rst year of opera- tion, but by 1979 it had two stores, 900 employees, 200,000 members, and a $1 million pro t. Years earlier, Sol Price had experimented with discount retailing at a San Diego store called Fed-Mart. Jim Sinegal got his start in retailing there at the age of 18, loading mattresses for $1.25 an hour while at- tending San Diego Community College. When Sol Price sold Fed-Mart, Sinegal left with Price to help him start the San Diego Price Club store; within a few years, Sol Price’s Price Club emerged as the un- challenged leader in member warehouse retailing, with stores operating primarily on the West Coast. Although he originally conceived Price Club as a place where small local businesses could obtain needed merchandise at economical prices, Sol Price soon concluded that his edgling operation could achieve far greater sales volumes and gain buying clout with suppliers by also granting membership to individuals—a conclusion that launched the deep- discount warehouse club industry on a steep growth curve. When Sinegal was 26, Sol Price made him the manager of the original San Diego store, which had become unpro table. Price saw that Sinegal had a special knack for discount retailing and for spotting w hat a store was doing wrong (usually either not being in the right merchandise categories or not sell- ing items at the right price points)—the very things that Sol Price was good at and that were at the root of the Price Club’s growing success in the marketplace. Sinegal soon got the San Diego store back into the b lack. Over the next several years, Sinegal continued to build his prowess and talents for discount merchan- dising. He mirrored Sol Price’s attention to detail and absorbed all the nuances and subtleties of his men- tor’s style of operating—constantly improving store operations, keeping operating costs and overhead low, stocking items that moved quickly, and charg- ing ultra-low prices that kept customers coming back to shop. Realizing that he had mastered the tricks of r unning a successful membership warehouse busi- ness from Sol Price, Sinegal decided to leave Price Club and form his own warehouse club operation. Costco was founded by Jim Sinegal and Seattle entrepreneur Jeff Brotman (now chairman of the board of directors). The rst Costco store began oper- ations in Seattle in 1983, the same year that Wal-Mart launched its warehouse membership format, Sam’s Club. By the end of 1984, there were nine Costco stores in ve states serving over 200,000 members. In December 1985, Costco became a public com- pany, selling shares to the public and raising addi- tional capital for expansion. Costco became the rst ev er U.S. company to reach $1 billion in sales in less than six years. In October 1993, Costco merged with Price Club. Jim Sinegal became CEO of the merged company, presiding over 206 PriceCostco locations, wh ich in total generated $16 billion in annual sales. Jeff Brotman, who had functioned as Costco’s chair- man since the company’s founding, became vice chairman of PriceCostco in 1993 and was elevated to chairman in December 1994. Brotman kept abreast of company operations but stayed in the background and concentrated on managing the company’s $9 bil- lion investment in real estate operations—in 2006, Costco owned the land and buildings for almost 80 percent of its stores. In January 1997, after the spin-off of most of its nonwarehouse assets to Price Enterprises Inc., PriceCostco changed its name to Costco Companies Inc. When the company reincorporated from Delaware to Washington in August 1999, the name was changed to Costco Wholesale Corporation. The company’s headquarters was in Issaquah, Washington, not far from Seattle. Exhibit 1 contains a nancial and operating summary for Costco for scal years 2000–2006. COSTCO’S MISSION, BUSINESS MODEL, AND STRATEGY Costco’s mission in the membership warehouse busi- ness read: “To continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest pos- sible prices.” The company’s business model was to generate high sales volumes and rapid inventory turnover by offering members low prices on a limited selection of nationally branded and selected private- label products in a wide range of merchandise cat- e gories. Management believed that rapid inventory tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 3 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 3 8/2/07 3:39:58 PM 8/2/07 3:39:58 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl C-4 Part 2 Cases in Crafting and Executing Strategy Exhibit 1 Financial and Operating Summary, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Fiscal Years 2000–2006 ($ in millions, except for per share data) Fiscal Years Ending on Sunday Closest to August 31 2006 2005 2004 2002 2000 Income Statement Data Net sales $58,963 $51,862 $47,146 $37,993 $31,621 Membership fees 1,188 1,073 961 769 544 Total revenue 60,151 52,935 48,107 38,762 32,164 Operating expenses Merchandise costs 52,745 46,347 42,092 33,983 28,322 Selling, general, and administrative 5,732 5,044 4,598 3,576 2,755 Preopening expenses 43 53 30 5142 Provision for impaired assets and store closing costs 5 16 1 21 7 Operating income 1,626 1,4741,386 1,132 1,037 Other income (expense) Interest expense (13) (34) (37) (29) (39) Interest income and other 138 109 52 36 54 Income before income taxes 1,751 1,549 1,401 1,138 1,052 Provision for income taxes 648 486 518 438 421 Net income $ 1,103 $ 1,063 $ 882 $ 700 $ 631 Diluted net income per share $ 2.30 $ 2.18 $ 1.85 $ 1.48 $ 1.35 Dividends per share $ 0.49 $ 0.43 $ 0.20 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 Millions of shares used in per share calculations 480.3 492.0 482.5 479.3 475.7 Balance Sheet Data Cash and cash equivalents $ 1,511 $ 2,063 $ 2,823 $ 806$ 525 Merchandise inventories 4,569 4,015 3,644 3,127 2,490 Current assets 8,232 8,238 7,269 4,631 3,470 Current liabilities 7,819 6,761 6,170 4,450 3,404 Wor king capital 413 1,477 1,099 18166 Net property and equipment 8,564 7,790 7,219 6,523 4,834 Total assets 17,495 16,514 15,093 11,620 8,634 Short-term borrowings 41 54 22 10410 Long-term debt 215 711 994 1,211 790 Stockholders’ equity 9,143 8,881 7,625 5,694 4,240 Cash Flow Data Net cash provided by operating activities $ 1,827 $ 1,776 $ 2,096$ 1,018 $ 1,070 Wa rehouses in Operation Beginning of year 433 417 397 345 292 Opened 28 21 20 3525 Closed (3) (5) —(6) (4) End of year 458 433 417 374 313 Primary members at year-end Businesses (000s) 5,214 5,050 4,810 4,476 4,358 Gold Star members (000s) 17,338 16,233 15,018 14,597 12,737 Sources: Company 10-K reports 2006, 2005, 2002, and 2000. tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 4 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 4 8/2/07 3:39:59 PM 8/2/07 3:39:59 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy C-5 turnover—when combined with the operating ef- ciencies achieved by volume purchasing, ef cient distribution, and reduced handling of merchandise in no-frills, self-service warehouse facilities—enabled Costco to operate pro tably at signi cantly lower g ross margins than traditional wholesalers, mass merchandisers, supermarkets, and supercenters. Examples of Costco’s incredible annual sales v olumes included 96,000 carats of diamonds (2006), 1.5 million televisions, $300 million worth of dig- ital cameras, 28 million rotisserie chickens (over 500,000 weekly), 40 percent of the Tuscan olive oil bought in the United States, $16 million worth of pumpkin pies during the fall holiday season, $3 bil- lion worth of gasoline, 21 million prescriptions, and 52 million $1.50 hot dog/soda pop combinations. Costco was also the world’s largest seller of ne wines ($385 million out of total 2006 ne wine sales of $805 million). 4 At one of Costco’s largest volume stores, which had annual sales of $285 million and 232,000 members, annual sales volume ran 283,000 rotisserie chickens, 375,000 gallons of milk, and 8.4 million rolls of toilet paper—this store had an aver- age customer bill per trip of $150. 5 Furthermore, Costco’s high sales volume and rapid inventory turnover generally allowed it to sell and receive cash for inventory before it had to pay many of its merchandise vendors, even when vendor payments were made in time to take advantage of early payment discounts. Thus, Costco was able to nance a big percentage of its merchandise inven- tory through the payment terms provided by vendors rather than by having to maintain sizable working capital (de ned as current assets minus current li- abilities) to facilitate timely payment of suppliers. Costco’s Strategy The cornerstones of Costco’s strategy were low prices, limited selection, and a treasure-hunt shop- ping environment. Pricing. Costco was known for selling top-quality national and regional brands at prices consistently below traditional wholesale or retail outlets. The company stocked only those items that could be priced at bargain levels and thus provide members with signi cant cost savings; this was true even if an item was often requested by customers. A key element of Costco’s pricing strategy was to cap its markup on brand-name merchandise at 14 percent (compared to 20 to 50 percent markups at other discounters and many supermarkets). Markups on Costco’s 400 private-label (Kirkland Signature) items could be no higher than 15 percent, but the sometimes fractionally higher markups still resulted in Kirkland Signature items being priced about 20 percent below comparable name-brand items. Kirkland Signature products—which included juice, cookies, coffee, tires, housewares, luggage, appliances, clothing, and detergent—were designed to be of equal or better quality than national brands. Costco’s philosophy was to keep customers com- ing in to shop by wowing them with low prices. Jim Sinegal explained the company’s approach to pricing as follows: We always look to see how much of a gulf we can create between ourselves and the competi- tion. So that the competitors eventually say, “These guys are crazy. We’ll compete somewhere else.” Some years ago, we were selling a hot brand of jeans for $29.99. They were $50 in a department store. We got a great deal on them and could have sold them for a higher price but we went down to $29.99. Why? We knew it would create a riot. 6 At another time he said: We ’ re very good merchants, and we offer value. The traditional retailer will say: “I’m selling this for $10. I wonder whether we can get $10.50 or $11.” We say: “We selling this for $9. How do we get it down to $8?” We understand that our members don’t come and shop with us because of the window displays or the Santa Claus or the piano player. They come and shop with us because we offer great values. 7 Indeed, Costco’s markups and prices were so low that Wall Street analysts had criticized Costco man- agement for going all out to please customers at the ex pense of increasing pro ts for shareholders. One retailing analyst said, “They could probably get more money for a lot of the items they sell.” 8 Sinegal was unimpressed with Wall Street calls for Costco to abandon its ultra-low pricing strategy, commenting: “Those people are in the business of making money between now and next Tuesday. We’re trying to build an organization that’s going to be here 50 years from now.” 9 He went on to explain why Costco’s approach to pricing would remain unaltered during his tenure: When I started, Sears, Roebuck was the Costco of the country, but they allowed someone else to come in under them. We don’t want to be one of the casual- ties. We don’t want to turn around and say, “We got so fancy we’ve raised our prices, and all of a sudden a new competitor comes in and beats our prices.” 10 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 5 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 5 8/2/07 3:40:00 PM 8/2/07 3:40:00 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl C-6 Part 2 Cases in Crafting and Executing Strategy Product Selection. Whereas typical supermar- k ets stocked about 40,000 items and a Wal-Mart Supercenter or a SuperTarget might have as many as 150,000 items for shoppers to choose from, Cost- co’s merchandising strategy was to provide members with a selection of only about 4,000 items. Costco’s product range did cover a broad spectrum—rotisserie chicken, prime steaks, caviar, at-screen televisions, digital cameras, fresh ow- ers, ne wines, caskets, baby strollers, toys and games, musical instruments, ceiling fans, vacuum cleaners, books, DVDs, chandeliers, stainless-steel cookware, seat-cover kits for autos, prescription drugs, gasoline, and one-hour photo nishing—but the company deliberately limited the selection in each product category to fast-selling models, sizes, and colors. Many consumable products like detergents, canned goods, of ce supplies, and soft drinks were sold only in big-container, case, carton, or multiple-pack quantities. For example, Costco stocked only a 325- count bottle of Advil—a size many shoppers might nd too large for their needs. Sinegal explained the reason for the deliberately limited selection as follows: If you had ten customers come in to buy Advil, how many are not going to buy any because you just have one size? Maybe one or two. We refer to that as the intelligent loss of sales. We are prepared to give up that one customer. But if we had four or ve sizes of Advil, as most grocery stores do, it would make our business more dif cult to manage. Our b usiness can only succeed if we are ef cient. You can’t go on selling at these margins if you are not. 11 Costco’s selections of appliances, equipment, and tools often included commercial and professional models because so many of its members were small businesses. The approximate percentage of net sales accounted for by each major category of items stocked by Costco is shown in the following table: To encourage members to shop at Costco more frequently, the company operated ancillary busi- nesses within or next to most Costco warehouses; the number of ancillary businesses at Costco ware- houses is shown in the following table: 2006 2005 2004 Total number of warehouses 458 433 417 Wa rehouses having stores with Fo od court and hot dog stands 452 427 412 One-hour photo centers 450 423 408 Optical dispensing centers 442 414 397 Pharmacies 401 374 359 Gas stations 250 225 211 Hearing aid centers 196 168 143 Print shops and copy centers 9 10 10 T reasure-Hunt Merchandising. While Costco’s product line consisted of approximately 4,000 items, about one-fourth of its product offerings were con- stantly changing. Costco’s merchandise buyers re- mained on the lookout to make one-time purchases of items that would appeal to the company’s clientele and that would sell out quickly. A sizable number of these items were high-end or name-brand products that carried big price tags—like $2,000–$3,500 big- screen HDTVs or $800 leather sofas. The idea was to entice shoppers to spend more than they might otherwise by offering irresistible deals on luxury items. According to Jim Sinegal, “Of that 4,000, about 3,000 can be found on the oor all the time. The other 1,000 are the treasure-hunt stuff that’s always changing. It’s the type of item a customer knows they better buy because it will not be there next time, like Waterford crystal. We try to get that sense of urgency in our customers.” 12 2006 2005 2004 2003 Food (fresh produce, meats and sh, bakery and deli products, and dry and institutionally packaged foods) 30% 30% 31% 30% Sundries (candy, snack foods, tobacco, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and cleaning and institutional supplies) 24 25 25 26 Hard lines (major appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, of ce supplies, garden and patio, sporting goods, furniture, cameras and automotive supplies) 20 20 20 20 Soft lines (apparel, domestics, jewelry, housewares, media, home furnishings, and small appliances) 12 12 13 14 Ancillary and other (gasoline, pharmacy, food court, optical, one-hour photo, hearing aids, and travel) 14 13 11 10 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 6 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 6 8/2/07 3:40:01 PM 8/2/07 3:40:01 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy C-7 In many cases, Costco did not obtain its luxury offerings directly from high-end manufacturers like Calvin Klein or Waterford (who were unlikely to wa nt their merchandise marketed at deep discounts at places like Costco); rather, Costco buyers searched for opportunities to source such items legally on the gr ay market from other wholesalers or distressed re- tailers looking to get rid of excess or slow-selling inventory. Examples of treasure-hunt specials in- cluded $800 espresso machines, diamond rings and other jewelry items with price tags of anywhere from $5,000 to $250,000, Italian-made Hathaway shirts priced at $29.99, Movado watches, exotic cheeses, Coach bags, cashmere sports coats, $1,500 digital pianos, and Dom Perignon champagne. Marketing and Advertising. Costco’s low prices and its reputation for treasure-hunt shopping made it unnecessary for the company to engage in extensive advertising or sales campaigns. Marketing and pro- motional activities were generally limited to direct mail programs promoting selected merchandise to e xisting members, occasional direct mail marketing to prospective new members, and special campaigns for new warehouse openings. For new warehouse openings, marketing teams personally contacted businesses in the area that were potential wholesale members; these contacts were supplemented with di- rect mailings during the period immediately prior to opening. Potential Gold Star (individual) members we re contacted by direct mail or by promotions at local employee associations and businesses with large numbers of employees. After a membership base was established in an area, most new member- ships came from word of mouth (existing members telling friends and acquaintances about their shop- ping experiences at Costco), follow-up messages distributed through regular payroll or other organi- zational communications to employee groups, and ongoing direct solicitations to prospective business and Gold Star members. Management believed that its emphasis on direct mail advertising kept its mar- k eting expenses low relative to those at typical retail- ers, discounter, and supermarkets. Growth Strategy. In recent years, Costco had opened an average 20–25 locations annually; most we re in the United States, but expansion was under wa y internationally as well. The company opened 68 new warehouses in the United States in scal years 2002–2006; 16 new warehouses opened in the rst four months of scal 2007 (between September 1 and December 31, 2006), and management planned to open another 20–24 by the end of scal 2007. Five new warehouses were opened outside the United States in scal 2005, ve more were opened in scal 2006, and four were opened in the rst four months of scal 2007. Going into 2007, Costco had a total of 102 wholly-owned warehouses in operation outside the United States, including 70 in Canada, 18 in the United Kingdom, 5 in Korea, 5 in Japan, and 4 in T aiwan. Costco was a 50–50 partner in a venture to operate 30 Costco warehouses in Mexico. Exhibit 2 shows a breakdown of Costco’s geographic opera- tions for scal years 2003–2006. (The data for the 30 w arehouses in Mexico are not included in the exhibit because the 50–50 venture in Mexico was accounted for using the equity method.) Costco had recently opened two freestand- ing high-end furniture warehouse businesses called Costco Home. Sales in 2005 at these two locations increased by 132 percent over 2004 levels, and prof- its were up signi cantly. So far, however, rather than opening additional Costco Home stores, management had opted to experiment with adding about 45,000 square feet to the size of selected new Costco stores and using the extra space to stock a much bigger selection of furniture—furniture was one of the top three best-selling categories at Costco’s Web site. A third growth initiative was to expand the company’s offerings of Kirkland Signature items. Management believed there were opportunities to e xpand its private-label offerings from the present level of 400 items to as many as 600 items over the next ve years. We b Site Sales. Costco operated two Web sites— in the United States and www. in Canada—both to provide another shop- ping alternative for members and to provide mem- bers with a way to purchase products and services that might not be available at the warehouse where they customarily shopped, especially such services as digital photo processing, prescription ful llment, and travel and other membership services. At Cost- co’s online photo center, customers could upload im- ages and pick up the prints at their local warehouse in little over an hour; one-hour photo sales were up 10 percent in scal 2005, a year in which the in- dustry overall had negative sales growth. Costco’s e-commerce sales totaled $534 million in scal 2005 and $376 million in scal 2004. (Data for scal 2006 e-commerce sales were not available.) tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 7 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 7 8/2/07 3:40:02 PM 8/2/07 3:40:02 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl C-8 Part 2 Cases in Crafting and Executing Strategy Warehouse Operations In Costco’s 2005 annual report, Jim Sinegal summed up the company’s approach to operations as follows: Costco is able to offer lower prices and better values by eliminating virtually all the frills and costs histori- cally associated with conventional wholesalers and retailers, including salespeople, fancy buildings, de- livery, billing, and accounts receivable. We run a tight operation with extremely low overhead which ena- bles us to pass on dramatic savings to our members. Costco warehouses averaged 140,000 square feet and were constructed inexpensively with concrete oors. Because shoppers were attracted principally Exhibit 2 Geographic Operating Data, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Fiscal Years 2003–2006 ($ in millions) United States Operations Canadian Operations Other International Operations Total Year Ended September 3, 2006 Total revenue (including membership fees) $48,465 $8,122$3,564$60,151 Operating income 1,246293 871,626 Depreciation and amortization 413 61 41 515 Capital expenditures 934 188 90 1,213 Property and equipment 6,676 1,032 855 8,564 Total assets 14,009 1,9141,57217,495 Net assets 7,190 1,0439109,143 Number of warehouses 35868 32458 Year Ended August 28, 2005 Total revenue (including membership fees) $43,064 $6,732$3,155$52,952 Operating income 1,168242 651,474 Depreciation and amortization 38951 42482 Capital expenditures 734140 122 995 Property and equipment 6,171834 7867,790 Total assets 13,203 2,0341,42816,665 Net assets 6,769 1,2858278,881 Number of warehouses 33865 30433 Year Ended August 29, 2004 Total revenue (including membership fees) $39,430 $6,043$2,637$48,110 Operating income 1,121215 501,386 Depreciation and amortization 36440 36441 Capital expenditures 56090 55706 Property and equipment 5,853676 6917,220 Total assets 12,108 1,7181,26715,093 Net assets 5,871 1,0127427,625 Number of Warehouses 32763 27417 Year Ended August 31, 2003 Total revenue (including membership fees) $35,119 $5,237$2,189$42,546 Operating income 928199 301,157 Depreciation and amortization 32434 34391 Capital expenditures 69969 44811 Long lived assets 5,706613 6426,960 Total assets 10,522 1,5801,08913,192 Net assets 5,141784 6306,555 Number of warehouses 30961 27397 Source: Company 10-K reports, 2004 and 2006. tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 8 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 8 8/2/07 3:40:02 PM 8/2/07 3:40:02 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy C-9 by Costco’s low prices, its warehouses were rare- ly located on prime commercial real estate sites. Merchandise was generally stored on racks above the sales oor and displayed on pallets containing large quantities of each item, thereby reducing labor required for handling and stocking. In-store signage wa s done mostly on laser printers, and there were no shopping bags at the checkout counter—merchandise wa s put directly into the shopping cart or sometimes loaded into empty boxes. Warehouses generally op- erated on a seven-day, 69-hour week, typically being open between 10:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. weekdays, with earlier closing hours on the weekend; the gaso- line operations outside many stores generally had e xtended hours. The shorter hours of operation—as compared to those of traditional retailers, discount retailers, and supermarkets—resulted in lower labor costs relative to the volume of sales. Costco warehouse managers were delegated considerable authority over store operations. In effect, warehouse managers functioned as entrepre- neurs running their own retail operation. They were responsible for coming up with new ideas about w hat items would sell in their stores, effectively merchandising the ever-changing lineup of treasure- hunt products, and orchestrating in-store prod- uct locations and displays to maximize sales and quick turnover. In experimenting with what items to stock and what in-store merchandising techniques to employ, warehouse managers had to know the clientele who patronized their locations—for in- stance, big-ticket diamonds sold well at some ware- houses but not at others. Costco’s best managers k ept their nger on the pulse of the members who shopped their warehouse location to stay in sync with wh at would sell well, and they had a air for creat- ing a certain element of excitement, hum, and buzz in their warehouses. Such managers spurred above- av erage sales volumes—sales at Costco’s top-volume wa rehouses often exceeded $5 million a week, with sales exceeding $1 million on many days. Successful managers also thrived on the rat race of running a high-traf c store and solving the inevitable crises of the moment. Costco bought the majority of its merchandise directly from manufacturers, routing it either direct- ly to its warehouse stores or to one of nine cross- docking depots that served as distribution points for nearby stores. Depots received container-based shipments from manufacturers and reallocated these goods for combined shipment to individual w arehouses, generally in less than 24 hours. This maximized freight volume and handling ef cien- cies. When merchandise arrived at a warehouse, it wa s moved straight to the sales oor; very little was stored in locations off the sales oor, thereby lower- ing receiving costs by eliminating many of the costs associated with multiple-step distribution channels, wh ich include purchasing from distributors as op- posed to manufacturers; using central receiving, storage, and distribution warehouses; and storing merchandise in locations off the sales oor. Costco had direct buying relationships with many producers of national brand-name mer- chandise (including Canon, Casio, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Dell, Fuji, Hewlett-Packard, Kimberly-Clark, Kodak, Levi Strauss, Michelin, Nestlé, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Sony, KitchenAid, and Jones of New York) and with manufacturers that supplied its Kirkland Signature products. No one manufacturer supplied a sig- ni cant percentage of the merchandise that Costco stocked. Costco had not experienced any dif culty in obtaining suf cient quantities of merchandise, and management believed that if one or more of its current sources of supply became unavailable, the company could switch its purchases to alternative manufacturers without experiencing a substantial disruption of its business. Costco warehouses accepted cash, checks, most debit cards, American Express, and a private- label Costco credit card. Costco accepted merchan- dise returns when members were dissatis ed with their purchases. Losses associated with dishonored checks were minimal because any member whose check had been dishonored was prevented from paying by check or cashing a check at the point of sale until restitution was made. The membership format facilitated strictly controlling the entrances and exits of warehouses, resulting in limited inven- tory losses of less than two-tenths of 1 percent of net sales—well below those of typical discount re- tail operations. Costco’s Membership Base and Member Demographics Costco attracted the most af uent customers in dis- count retailing—the average income of individual members was about $75,000, with over 30 percent of members having annual incomes of $100,000 or more. Many members were af uent urbanites, tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 9 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 9 8/2/07 3:40:03 PM 8/2/07 3:40:03 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl C-10 Part 2 Cases in Crafting and Executing Strategy living in nice neighborhoods not far from Costco warehouses. One loyal Executive member, a crimi- nal defense lawyer, said, “I think I spend over $20,000–$25,000 a year buying all my products here from food to clothing—except my suits. I have to buy them at the Armani stores.” 13 Another Costco loyalist said, “This is the best place in the w orld. It’s like going to church on Sunday. You can’t get anything better than this. This is a reli- gious experience.” 14 Costco had two primary types of member- ships: Business and Gold Star (individual). Gold Star memberships were for individuals who did not qualify for a Business membership. Businesses— including individuals with a business license, retail sales license, or other evidence of business exist- ence—quali ed as Business members. Business members generally paid an annual membership fee of $50 for the primary membership card, which also included a spouse membership card, and could purchase up to six additional membership cards for an annual fee of $40 each for partners or as- sociates in the business; they could also purchase a transferable company card. A signi cant number of business members also shopped at Costco for their personal needs. Gold Star members generally paid an annual membership fee of $50, which included a spouse card. In addition, members could upgrade to an Executive membership for an annual fee of $100; Executive members were entitled an additional 2 percent savings on quali ed purchases at Costco (redeemable at Costco warehouses), up to a maxi- mum rebate of $500 per year. Executive members also were eligible for savings and bene ts on vari- ous business and consumer services offered by Costco, including merchant credit card processing, small-business loans, auto and home insurance, long-distance telephone service, check printing, and real estate and mortgage services; these services were mostly offered by third-party provid- ers and varied by state. In 2006, Executive mem- bers represented 23 percent of Costco’s primary membership base and generated approximately 45 percent of consolidated net sales. Effective May 1, 2006, Costco increased annual membership fees by $5 for U.S. and Canadian Gold Star, Business, and Business Add-on members; the $5 increase, the rst in nearly six years, impacted approximately 15 mil- lion members. At the end of scal 2006, Costco had almost 48 million cardholders: Recent trends in membership are shown at bottom of Exhibit 1. Members could shop at any Costco ware- house; member renewal rates were about 86.5 percent. Compensation and Workforce Practices In September 2006, Costco had 71,000 full-time employees and 56,000 part-time employees, includ- ing approximately 8,000 people employed by Costco Mexico, whose operations were not consolidated in Costco’s nancial and operating results. Approxi- mately 13,800 hourly employees at locations in California, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, as well as at one warehouse in Virginia, were rep- resented by the International Brotherhood of Team- sters. All remaining employees were non-union. Starting wages for new Costco employees were in the $10–$12 range in 2006; on average, Costco employees earned $17–$18 per hour, plus biannual bonuses. Employees enjoyed the full spectrum of bene ts. Salaried employees were eligible for ben- e ts on the rst of the month after the date of hire. Full-time hourly employees were eligible for bene ts of the rst of the month after working a probationary 90 days; part-time hourly employees became bene t- eligible on the rst of the month after working 180 days. The bene t package included the following: Health and dental care plans. Full-time em- ployees could choose from among a freedom- of-choice health care plan, a managed-choice health care plan, and three dental plans. A managed-choice health care and a core dental plan were available for part-time employees. The company paid about 90 percent of an employee’s premiums for health care (far above the more normal 50 percent contributions at many other Gold Star members (including Executive members) 17,338,000 Business members 5,214,000 To tal primary cardholders 22,552,000 Add-on cardholders 25,127,000 To tal cardholders 47,679,000 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 10 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 10 8/2/07 3:40:03 PM 8/2/07 3:40:03 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy C-11 retailers), but employees did have to pick up the premiums for coverage for family members. Convenient prescription pickup at Costco’s pharmacies, with co-payments as low as $5 for generic drugs. Generally, employees paid no more than 15 percent of the cost for the most expensive branded drugs. A vision program that paid $45 for an optical exam (the amount charged at Costco’s optical centers) and had generous allowances for the purchase of glasses and contact lenses. A 401(k) plan in which Costco matched hourly employee contributions by 50 cents on the dollar for the rst $1,000 annually to a maximum com- pany match of $500 per year. Eligible employees quali ed for additional company contributions based on the employee’s years of service and eli- gible earnings. The company’s union employees on the West Coast quali ed for matching contri- b utions of 50 cents on the dollar to a maximum company match of $250 a year; eligible union employees quali ed for additional company con- tributions based on straight-time hours worked. Company contributions for salaried workers ran about 3 percent of salary during the second year of employment and could be as high as 9 percent of salary after 25 years. Company contributions to employee 410 (k) plans were $233.6 million in scal 2006, $191.6 million in scal 2005, and $169.7 million in scal 2004. A dependent care reimbursement plan in which Costco employees whose families quali ed could pay for day care for children under 13 or adult day care with pretax dollars and realize savings of anywhere from $750 to $2,000 per year. Con dential professional counseling services. Company-paid long-term disability coverage equal to 60 percent of earnings if out for more than 180 days on a non–worker’s compensation leave of absence. All employees who passed their 90-day proba- tion period and were working at least 10 hours per week were automatically enrolled in a short- term disability plan covering non-work-related injuries or illnesses for up to 26 weeks. Weekly short-term disability payments equaled 60 per- cent of average weekly wages up to a maximum of $1,000 and were tax free. Generous life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment coverage, with bene ts based on years or service and whether the employee w orked full-time or part-time. Employees could elect to purchase supplemental coverage for themselves, their spouses, or their children. An employee stock purchase plan allowing all employees to buy Costco stock via payroll de- duction and avoid commissions and fees. A health care reimbursement plan in which ben- e t eligible employees could arrange to have pretax money automatically deducted from their paychecks and deposited in a health care reimbursement account that could be used to pay medical and dental bills. A long-term care insurance plan for employees with 10 or more years of service. Eligible em- ployees could purchase a basic or supplemental policy for nursing home care for themselves, their spouses, or their parents (including in- laws) or grandparents (including in-laws). Although admitting that paying good wages and good bene ts was contrary to conventional wisdom in dis- count retailing, Jim Sinegal was convinced that hav- ing a well-compensated workforce was very impor- tant to executing Costco’s strategy successfully. He said, “Imagine that you have 120,000 loyal ambassa- dors out there who are constantly saying good things about Costco. It has to be a signi cant advan tage for you. . . . Paying good wages and keeping your people working with you is very good business.” 15 When a reporter asked him about why Costco treated its workers so well compared to other retailers (par- ticularly Wal-Mart, which paid lower wages and had a skimpier bene ts package), Sinegal replied: “Why shouldn’t employees have the right to good wages and good careers. . . . It absolutely makes good busi- ness sense. Most people agree that we’re the lowest- cost producer. Yet we pay the highest wages. So it must mean we get better productivity. Its axiomatic in our business—you get what you pay for.” 16 About 85 percent of Costco’s employees had signed up for health insurance, versus about 50 per- cent at Wal-Mart and Target. The Teamsters’ chief negotiator with Costco said, “They gave us the best agreement of any retailer in the country.” 17 Good wa ges and bene ts were said to be why employee turnover at Costco ran under 6 percent after the rst y ear of employment. Some Costco employees had been with the company since its founding in 1983. Many others had started working part-time at Costco tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 11 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 11 8/2/07 3:40:04 PM 8/2/07 3:40:04 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl C-12 Part 2 Cases in Crafting and Executing Strategy while in high school or college and opted to make a career at the company. One Costco employee told an ABC 20/20 reporter, “It’s a good place to work; they take good care of us.” 18 A Costco vice president and head baker said working for Costco was a fam- ily affair: “My whole family works for Costco, my husband does, my daughter does, my new son-in-law does.” 19 Another employee, a receiving clerk who made about $40,000 a year, said, “I want to retire here. I love it here.” 20 An employee with over two y ears of service could not be red without the ap- proval of a senior company of cer. Selecting People for Open Positions. Costco’s top management wanted employees to feel that they could have a long career at Costco. It was company policy to ll at least 86 percent of its higher-level openings by promotions from within; in actuality, the percentage ran close to 98 percent, which meant that the majority of Costco’s management team mem- bers (including warehouse, merchandise, administra- tive, membership, front end, and receiving manag- ers) were homegrown. Many of the company’s vice presidents had started in entry-level jobs; according to Jim Sinegal, “We have guys who started pushing shopping carts out on the parking lot for us who are now vice presidents of our company.” 21 Costco made a point of recruiting at local universities; Sinegal e xplained why: “These people are smarter than the av erage person, hardworking, and they haven’t made a career choice.” 22 On another occasion, he said, “If someone came to us and said he just got a master’s in business at Harvard, we would say ne, would you like to start pushing carts.” 23 Those employees who demonstrated smarts and strong people management skills moved up through the ranks. But without an aptitude for the details of dis- count retailing, even up-and-coming employees stood no chance of being promoted to a position of wa rehouse manager. Sinegal and other top Costco ex- ecutives who oversaw warehouse operations insisted that candidates for warehouse managers be top- ight merchandisers with a gift for the details of making items y off the shelves; Sinegal said, “People who have a feel for it just start to get it. Others, you look at them and it’s like staring at a blank canvas. I’m not trying to be unduly harsh, but that’s the way it w orks.” 24 Most newly appointed warehouse managers at Costco came from the ranks of assistant warehouse managers who had a track record of being shrewd merchandisers and tuned into what new or differ- ent products might sell well given the clientele that patronized their particular warehouse—just hav- ing the requisite skills in people management, crisis management, and cost-effective warehouse opera- tions was not enough. Executive Compensation. Executives at Costco did not earn the outlandish salaries that had become customary over the past decade at most large corpo- rations. In scal 2005, both Jeff Brotman and Jim Sinegal were each paid $350,000 and earned a bonus of $100,000 (versus $350,000 salaries and $200,000 bonuses in scal 2004). As of early 2006, Brotman o wned about 2.2 million shares of Costco stock (worth about $110 million as of December 2006) and had been awarded options to purchase an addi- tional 1.35 million shares; Sinegal owned 2.7 million shares of Costco stock (worth about $140 million as of December 2006) and had also been awarded options for an additional 1.35 million shares. Sev- eral senior of cers at Costco were paid 2005 sala- ries in the $475,000–$500,000 range and bonuses of $47,000–$77,000. Sinegal explained why executive compensation at Costco was only a fraction of the millions paid to top-level executives at other corpo- rations with sales of $50 billion or more: “I gured that if I was making something like 12 times more than the typical person working on the oor, that that was a fair salary.” 25 To another reporter, he said: “Listen, I’m one of the founders of this business. I’ve been very well rewarded. I don’t require a sal- ary that’s 100 times more than the people who work on the sales oor.” 26 Sinegal’s employment contract w as only a page long and provided that he could be terminated for cause. Costco’s Business Philosophy, Values, and Code of Ethics Jim Sinegal, who was the son of a steelworker, had ingrained ve simple and down-to-earth business principles into Costco’s corporate culture and the manner in which the company operated. The follow- ing are excerpts of these principles and operating approaches: 1. Obey the law—The law is irrefutable! Absent a moral imperative to challenge a law, we must conduct our business in total compliance with the laws of every community where we do busi- ness. We pledge to: Comply with all laws and other legal requirements. tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 12 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 12 8/2/07 3:40:05 PM 8/2/07 3:40:05 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy C-13 Respect all public of cials and their positions. Comply with safety and security standards for all products sold. Exceed ecological standards required in ev ery community where we do business. Comply with all applicable wage and hour laws. Comply with all applicable anti-trust laws. Conduct business in and with foreign coun- tries in a manner that is legal and proper under United States and foreign laws. Not offer, give, ask for, or receive any form of bribe or kickback to or from any person or pay to expedite government action or other- wise act in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Promote fair, accurate, timely, and under- standable disclosure in reports led with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in other public communications by the Company. 2. Take care of our members— Costco member- ship is open to business owners, as well as individ- uals. Our members are our reason for being—the ke y to our success. If we don’t keep our members happy, little else that we do will make a differ- ence. There are plenty of shopping alternatives for our members, and if they fail to show up, we can- not survive. Our members have extended a trust to Costco by virtue of paying a fee to shop with us. We will succeed only if we do not violate the trust they have extended to us, and that trust extends to ev ery area of our business. We pledge to: Provide top-quality products at the best prices in the market. Provide high-quality, safe, and wholesome food products by requiring that both vendors and employees be in compliance with the highest food safety standards in the industry. Provide our members with a 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed warranty on every product and service we sell, including their membership fee. Assure our members that every product we sell is authentic in make and in representation of performance. Make our shopping environment a pleasant ex perience by making our members feel wel- come as our guests. Provide products to our members that will be ecologically sensitive. Provide our members with the best customer service in the retail industry. Give back to our communities through employee volunteerism and employee and corporate contributions to United Way and Children’s Hospitals. 3. Take care of our employees— Our employees are our most important asset. We believe we have the very best employees in the warehouse club in- dustry, and we are committed to providing them with rewarding challenges and ample opportuni- ties for personal and career growth. We pledge to provide our employees with: Competitive wages. Great bene ts. A safe and healthy work environment. Challenging and fun work. Career opportunities. An atmosphere free from harassment or discrimination. An Open Door Policy that allows access to ascending levels of management to resolve issues. Opportunities to give back to their communi- ties through volunteerism and fundraising. 4. Respect our suppliers—Our suppliers are our partners in business and for us to prosper as a company, they must prosper with us. To that end, we strive to: Treat all suppliers and their representatives as you would expect to be treated if visiting their places of business. Honor all commitments. Protect all suppliers’ property assigned to Costco as though it were our own. Not accept gratuities of any kind from a supplier. Av oid actual or apparent con icts of interest, including creating a business in competition with the Company or working for or on be- half of another employer in competition with the Company. If we do these four things throughout our organization, then we will achieve our ultimate goal, which is to: 5. Reward our shareholders— As a company with stock that is traded publicly on the NASDAQ stock exchange, our shareholders are our busi- ness partners. We can only be successful so long tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 13 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 13 8/2/07 3:40:12 PM 8/2/07 3:40:12 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl C-14 Part 2 Cases in Crafting and Executing Strategy as we are providing them with a good return on the money they invest in our company. . . . We pledge to operate our company in such a way that our present and future stockholders, as well as our employees, will be rewarded for our efforts. COMPETITION In the discount warehouse retail segment, there were three main competitors—Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club (671 warehouses in six countries—the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, China, and Puerto Rico), and BJ’s Wholesale Club (165 locations in 16 states). At the end of 2006, there were just over 1,200 warehouse locations across the United States and Canada; most every major metropolitan area had one, if not several, warehouse clubs. Costco had close to a 55 percent share of warehouse club sales across the United States and Canada, with Sam’s Club (a division of Wal-Mart) having roughly a 36 percent share and BJ’s Wholesale Club and several small warehouse club competitors about a 9 percent share. The wholesale club and warehouse segment of retailing was estimated to be a $110 billion busi- ness, and it was growing about 20 percent faster than retailing as a whole. Competition among the warehouse clubs was based on such factors as price, merchandise qual- ity and selection, location, and member service. However, warehouse clubs also competed with a wide range of other types of retailers, including re- tail discounters like Wal-Mart and Dollar General, supermarkets, general merchandise chains, specialty chains, gasoline stations, and Internet retailers. Not only did Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, com- pete directly with Costco via its Sam’s Club subsidi- ary but its Wal-Mart Supercenters sold many of the same types of merchandise at attractively low prices as well. Target and Kohl’s had emerged as signi cant retail competitors in certain merchandise categories. Low-cost operators selling a single category or nar- row range of merchandise—such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Of ce Depot, Staples, Best Buy, Circuit City, P etSmart, and Barnes & Noble—had signi cant market share in their respective product categories. Brief pro les of Costco’s two primary competi- tors in North America are presented in the following sections; Exhibit 3 shows selected nancial and op- erating data for these two competitors. Sam’s Club In 2007, Sam’s Club had 693 warehouse locations and more than 49 million members. Wal-Mart Stores opened the rst Sam’s Club in 1984, and management had pursued rapid expansion of the membership club format over the next 23 years, creating a chain of 579 U.S. locations in 48 states and 114 international locations in Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, and Puerto Rico as of February 2007. Many Sam’s Club locations were adjacent to Wa l-Mart Supercenters. The concept of the Sam’s Club format was to sell merchandise at very low pro t margins, resulting in low prices to members. Sam’s Clubs ranged between 70,000 and 190,000 square feet, with the average being about 132,000 square feet. All Sam’s Club warehouses had concrete oors; sparse decor; and goods dis- played on pallets, simple wooden shelves, or racks in the case of apparel. Sam’s Club stocked brand- name merchandise, including hard goods, some soft goods, institutional-size grocery items, and se- lected private-label items sold under the Member’s Mark, Bakers & Chefs, and Sam’s Club brands. Generally, each Sam’s Club also carried software, electronics, jewelry, sporting goods, toys, tires and batteries, stationery and books, and most clubs had fresh-foods departments that included bakery, meat, produce, oral products, and a Sam’s Café. A signi cant number of clubs had a one-hour photo processing department, a pharmacy that lled pre- scriptions, an optical department, and self-service gasoline pumps. Members could shop for a broad assortment of merchandise and services online at Like Costco, Sam’s Club stocked about 4,000 items, a big fraction of which were standard and a small fraction of which represented special buys and one-time offerings. The treasure-hunt items at Sam’s Club tended to be less upscale and carry lower price tags than those at Costco. The percentage composi- tion of sales was as follows: 2006 2005 2004 Food 32% 30% 31% Sundries 29 31 31 Hard goods 23 23 23 Soft goods 5 5 6 Service businesses 11 11 9 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 14 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 14 8/2/07 3:40:12 PM 8/2/07 3:40:12 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy C-15 In 2006, Sam’s Club launched a series of initiatives to grow its sales and market share: Adding new lines of merchandise, with more emphasis on products for the home as opposed to small businesses. In particular, Sam’s had put more emphasis on furniture, at-screen TVs and other electronics products, jewelry, and select other big-ticket items. Instituting new payment methods. Starting November 10, 2006, Sam’s began accepting payment via MasterCard credit cards; prior to then, payment was limited to cash, check, Discover Card, and debit cards. Early results with MasterCard were favorable; company of- cials reported that in the week following the MasterCard acceptance, the average ticket checkout at Sam’s increased by 35 percent. Running ads on national TV. Sam’s spent about $50 million annually on advertising and direct mail promotions. During the 2006 holiday sea- son, Sam’s ran national TV ads on high-pro le TV programs like Deal or No Deal, NBC’s cov- erage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Thanksgiving Day NFL matchup be- tween the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins on CBS. The TV ads and companion print ads featured Sam’s Club shoppers showing off their purchases with a background sound track play- ing “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys— scenes included a young man watching shark shows on a at-screen TV from his bathtub, a well-dressed woman buying a hot dog roaster, and a Florida couple buying a supersize in at- able snow globe. Exhibit 3 Selected Financial and Operating Data for Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club, 2000–2006 2006 2005 2004 2002 2000 Sam’s Club a Sales in United States c ($ in millions) $41,582 $39,798 $37,119 $31,702 $26,798 Operating income ($ in millions) $1,512 $1,385 $1,280 $1,028 $942 Assets ($ in millions) $6,345 $5,686 $5,685 $4,404 $3,843 Number of locations at year-end 693 670 642 596 564 United States 579 567 551 525 500 International 114 1039171 64 Av erage sales per U.S. location ($ in millions) $71.8 $66.7 $67.4 $60.4 $3.6 Av erage warehouse size (square feet) 132,000 129,400 128,300 125,200 122,100 BJ’s Wholesale b Net sales $8,303 $7,784 $7,220 $5,729 $4,767 Membership fees and other $177 $166 $155 $131 $102 Total revenues $8,480 $7,950 $7,375 $5,860 $4,869 Selling, general, and administrative expenses $698 $611 $556 $416 $335 Operating income $144 $204 $179 $220 $209 Net income $72 $129 $114 $131 $132 Total assets $1,993 $1,990 $1,892 $1,481 $1,234 Number of clubs at year-end 172 165 157 140 118 Number of members (000s) Not avail. 8,619 8,329 8,190 6,596 Av erage sales per location ($ in millions) $48.3 $47.2 $6.0 $40.9 $40.4 aFiscal years end in January 31; data for 2006 are for year ending January 31, 2007; data for 2005 are for year ending January 31, 2006; and so on. bFiscal years ending on last Saturday of January; data for 2006 are for year ending January 27, 2007; data for 2005 are for year ending Jan uary 28, 2006; and so on. cFor nancial reporting purposes, Wal-Mart consolidates the operations of all foreign-based stores into a single “international” segment gure; thus, nancial information for foreign-based Sam’s Club locations is not separately available. tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 15 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 15 8/2/07 3:40:13 PM 8/2/07 3:40:13 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl C-16 Part 2 Cases in Crafting and Executing Strategy The annual fee for Sam’s Club business mem- bers was $35 for the primary membership card, with a spouse card available at no additional cost. Business members could add up to eight busi- ness associates for $35 each. The annual mem- bership fee for an individual Advantage member was $40, which included a spouse card. A Sam’s Club Plus premium membership cost $100 and in- cluded health care insurance, merchant credit card processing, Web site operation, personal and nan- cial services, and an auto, boat, and recreational v ehicle program. Regular hours of operations were Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Approximately two-thirds of the merchandise at Sam’s Club was shipped from the division’s own distribution facilities and, in the case of perishable items, from some of Wal-Mart’s grocery distribution centers; the balance was shipped by suppliers direct to Sam’s Club locations. Like Costco, Sam’s Club distribution centers employed cross-docking tech- niques whereby incoming shipments were transferred immediately to outgoing trailers destined for Sam’s Club locations; shipments typically spent less than 24 hours at a cross-docking facility and in some instances we re there only an hour. The Sam’s Club distribution center network consisted of 7 company-owned-and- operated distribution facilities, 13 third-party-owned- and-operated facilities, and 2 third-party-owned-and- operated import distribution centers. A combination of company-owned trucks and independent trucking companies were used to transport merchandise from distribution centers to club locations. BJ’s Wholesale Club BJ’s Wholesale Club introduced the member ware- house concept to the northeastern United States in the mid-1980s. Since then it had expanded to 163 stores operating in 16 states in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic; it also had two ProFoods Restaurant Supply clubs and three cross-dock distribution cent- ers. BJ’s had 144 big-box warehouses (averaging 112,000 square feet) and 19 smaller-format ware- houses (averaging 71,000 square feet); the two ProFoods clubs averaged 62,000 square feet. Clubs we re located in both freestanding and shopping center locations. Construction and site development costs for a full-sized BJ’s Club were in the $5 to $8 million range; land acquisition costs could run $5 to $10 million (signi cantly higher in some loca- tions). Each warehouse generally had an investment of $3 to $4 million for xtures and equipment. Pre- opening expenses at a new club were close to $1 mil- lion. Full-sized clubs had approximately $2 million in inventory. Merchandise was generally displayed on pallets containing large quantities of each item, thereby reducing labor required for handling, stock- ing, and restocking. Backup merchandise was gener- ally stored in steel racks above the sales oor. Most merchandise was premarked by the manufacturer so that it did not require ticketing at the club. Like Costco and Sam’s, BJ’s Wholesale sold high-quality, brand-name merchandise at prices that we re signi cantly lower than the prices found at supermarkets, discount retail chains, department stores, drugstores, and specialty retail stores like Best Buy. Its merchandise lineup of about 7,500 items included consumer electronics, prerecorded media, small appliances, tires, jewelry, health and beauty aids, household products, computer software, books, g reeting cards, apparel, furniture, toys, seasonal items, frozen foods, fresh meat and dairy products, bever- ages, dry grocery items, fresh produce, ow ers, canned goods, and household products; about 70 per- cent of BJ’s product line could be found in supermar- ke ts. Food categories and household items accounted for approximately 59 percent of BJ’s total food and general merchandise sales in 2005; about 12 percent of sales consisted of BJ’s private-label products, which w ere primarily premium quality and typically priced we ll below name-brand products. In some product as- sortments, BJ’s had three price categories for mem- bers to choose from—good, deluxe, and luxury. There were 125 BJ’s locations with home im- provement service kiosks, 130 clubs with Verizon Wi reless kiosks, 44 with pharmacies, and 87 with self-service gas stations. Other specialty products and services, provided mostly by outside operators that leased warehouse space from BJ’s, included photo developing, full-service optical centers, brand-name fa st-food service, garden and storage sheds, patios and sunrooms, vacation packages, propane tank ll- ing services, discounted home heating oil, an auto- mobile buying service, installation of home security services, printing of business forms and checks, and muf er and brake services. BJ’s Wholesale Club had about 8.6 million members in 2006 (see Exhibit 3). It charged $45 per ye ar for a primary Inner Circle membership that in- cluded one free supplemental membership; members tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 16 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 16 8/2/07 3:40:14 PM 8/2/07 3:40:14 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl Case 1 Costco Wholesale Corporation: Mission, Business Model, and Strategy C-17 in the same household could purchase additional supplemental memberships for $20. A business membership also cost $45 per year, which included one free supplemental membership and the ability to purchase additional supplemental memberships for $20. BJ’s launched a membership rewards program in 2003 that offered members a 2 percent rebate, capped at $500 per year, on most all in-club purchases; members who paid the $80 annual fee to enroll in the rewards program accounted for 5 percent of all members and 10 percent of total merchandise and food sales in 2005. Purchases with a co-branded BJ’s MasterCard earned a 1.5 percent rebate. BJ’s was the only warehouse club that accepted MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express cards at all locations; members could also pay for purchases by cash, check, and debit cards. BJ’s accepted returns of most merchandise within 30 days after purchase. BJ’s increased customer awareness of its clubs primarily through direct mail, public relations ef- forts, marketing programs for newly-opened clubs, and a publication called BJ’s Journal, w hich was mailed to members throughout the year; during the holiday season, BJ’s engaged in radio and TV adver- tising, a portion of which was funded by vendors. Merchandise purchased from manufacturers wa s shipped either to a BJ’s cross-docking facility or directly to clubs. Personnel at the cross-docking fa cilities broke down truckload quantity shipments from manufacturers and reallocated goods for ship- ment to individual clubs, generally within 24 hours. Strategy Features that Differentiated BJ’s. Top management believed that several factors set BJ’s Wholesale operations apart from those of Costco and Sam’s Club: Offering a wide range of choice—7,500 items versus 4,000 items at Costco and Sam’s Club. Focusing on the individual consumer via merchandising strategies that emphasized a customer-friendly shopping experience. Clustering club locations to achieve the bene t of name recognition and maximize the ef cien- cies of management support, distribution, and marketing activities. Tr ying to establish and maintain the rst or second industry leading position in each major market where it operated. Creating an exciting shopping experience for members with a constantly changing mix of food and general merchandise items and carrying a broader product assortment than competitors. Supplementing the warehouse format with aisle markers, express checkout lanes, self-checkout lanes and low-cost video-based sales aids to make shopping more ef cient for members. Being open longer hours than competitors. Offering smaller package sizes of many items. Accepting manufacturers’ coupons. Accepting more credit card payment options. 1As quoted in Alan B. Goldberg and Bill Ritter, “Costco CEO Finds Pro- Wo rker Means Pro tability,” an ABC News original report on 20/20, August 2, 2006, story?id=1362779 (accessed November 15, 2006). 2Ibid.3As described in Nina Shapiro, “Company for the People,” Seattle Weekly, December 15, 2004, (accessed November 14, 2006). 42005 and 2006 annual reports.5Matthew Boyle, “Why Costco Is So Damn Addictive,” Fortune, October 30, 2006, p. 130. 6As quoted in ibid., pp. 128–29.7Steven Greenhouse, “How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart,” New Yo rk Times, July 17, 2005, (accessed November 28, 2006). 8As quoted in Greenhouse, “How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart.”9As quoted in Shapiro, “Company for the People.”10As quoted in Greenhouse, “How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart.”11Boyle, “Why Costco Is So Damn Addictive,” p. 132. Endnotes 12Ibid., p. 130.13As quoted in Goldberg and Ritter, “Costco CEO Finds Pro-Worker Means Pro tability.” 14Ibid.15Ibid.16Shapiro, “Company for the People.”17Greenhouse, “How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart.”18As quoted in Goldberg and Ritter, “Costco CEO Finds Pro-Worker Means Pro tability.” 19Ibid.20As quoted in Greenhouse, “How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart.”21As quoted in Goldberg and Ritter, “Costco CEO Finds Pro-Worker Means Pro tability.” 22Boyle, “Why Costco Is So Damn Addictive,” p. 132.23As quoted in Shapiro, “Company for the People.”24Ibid. 25As quoted in Goldberg and Ritter, “Costco CEO Finds Pro-Worker Means Pro tability.” 26As quoted in Shapiro, “Company for the People.” tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 17 tho81241_cs01_001-017.indd 17 8/2/07 3:40:14 PM 8/2/07 3:40:14 PM Strategia aziendale – Formulazione ed esecuzione Arthur A. Thompson, A. J. Strickland III, John E. Gamble Copyright 251 2009 – The McGraw-Hill Companies srl

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