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Costco Taiwan membership fee hike 'question of when, not if'

'If we want to do it six months from now, we can,' says Costco CFO

Costco Goldstar Member card. (Reuters photo)

Costco Goldstar Member card. (Reuters photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Costco's chief financial officer on Thursday (March 2) said that a membership fee increase is a "question of when, not if" — likely resulting in a price rise in Taiwan.

The Issaquah, Washington, mega-retailer made the announcement while reporting its quarterly results to investors. Over the past 16 years, the company has typically raised its membership fee every 5.5 years and the last time it increased the price was in June 2017.

During a call with analysts to discuss quarterly earnings, Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti was asked whether a membership fee hike was imminent. Galanti acknowledged that January 2023 marked five years and seven months since the last hike and that an increase is due "about now," but said that it is not imminent, reported Business Insider.

"It's a question of when, not if," the executive said. He added there is no particular analytical framework the firm uses to make decisions on the matter other than "we feel very good about our membership and our strength. And if we wanted to do it yesterday, we could," reported CNBC.

Hinting at a possible timeline, Galanti said, "If we want to do it six months from now, we can."

The warehouse club's annual fee in the U.S. for its Gold Star Membership is US$60, while Executive membership is US$120. However, in Taiwan, the individual fee is slightly less at NT$1,350 (US$44), while a business card costs NT$1,150.

The last time Costco Taiwan raised its annual fee was in September 2016, when it increased the price for the individual membership card from NT$1,200 to NT$1,350, a 12.5% hike, while its commercial card rose from NT$1,00 to NT$1,150, a spike of 15%. At that time, Costco branches in Japan and South Korea also boosted their membership fees.

Taiwan News has yet to receive a response from Costco Taiwan to comment on when a membership fee increase may occur.