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Costco plans move to Sam’s Club’s backyard, Lowell mayor says

Plans for location on Board of Zoning Adjustment agenda for Monday by Doug Thompson | May 13, 2023 at 5:35 a.m.
A concept landscape plan for a Costco Wholesale store, planned for the southwest corner of West Pleasant Grove Road and Concord Street in Lowell, is seen here in a document submitted to the city of Lowell.

LOWELL -- Costco is coming to Northwest Arkansas.

The Washington state-based warehouse store chain will open a store in Lowell, Mayor Chris Moore confirmed Friday. The company chose a location on the southwest corner of Concord Street and Pleasant Grove Road -- about 7 miles by road from the nearest Sam's Club in Bentonville.

The company has no comment on its plans for any upcoming stores in Arkansas at this time, the Costco media relations department at its Issaquah, Wash., headquarters said Friday.

Documents filed with the city of Lowell do not give details on when the store will open. The Lowell location is not on the list of stores opening soon on the company's website, but the site lists only stores opening within the next three months.

"We've been working on this for a couple of months, but they only submitted their plans" Thursday for city approval, confirming Costco's intent to come to Lowell, Moore said in a telephone interview Friday. The arrival of this major retailer will be a boon to the city, he said.

He deferred further comment to Costco.

Lowell levies a 2% sales tax, which brought in $542,781 in revenue in March, according to the Arkansas Municipal League.

Plans for the new store are on the agenda for the Lowell Board of Zoning Adjustment meeting for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall. Plans submitted for the site show the proposed warehouse would cover 160,979 square feet with 827 parking spaces.

The closest existing Costco stores to Northwest Arkansas are in Springfield, Mo., and Tulsa, Okla., according to the chain's store locator website. The Lowell store would be Costco's second in Arkansas. The Costco location in Little Rock was announced in 2020 and opened in July 2021.

The members-only retailer competes with Bentonville-based Walmart's Sam's Club stores. Costco reported net sales of $222.7 billion in 2022, according to the company's annual report, a 16% increase from 2021. Reported net income was $5.8 billion, an increase of 17% from the previous year. The company also reported $4.2 billion in membership fees, a 9% year-to-year increase.

The chain has 847 locations worldwide, including 583 in the United States and Puerto Rico, according to the report.

"With the slowing of the pandemic, we were able to increase the pace of opening warehouses and business centers domestically and internationally, including 23 net new locations," the annual report said.

Sam's Club is the nation's other top members-only retailer. Unlike Costco, which is a stand-alone retailer, Sam's Club is a division of Walmart Inc.

The latest published financial figures for Sam's Club are for the fiscal year ending Jan. 1, 2022. In that fiscal year Sam's Club reported revenues of $73.6 billion.

Sam's Club announced in January it plans to build more than 30 stores over the next few years in its first expansion since 63 clubs were closed in 2018.

It also will add distribution and fulfillment centers to its supply chain network and retrofit others.

"The decision to invest in expanding its physical footprint was motivated by historic comparable sales growth, and a record rise in membership over the last two years," Sam's Club said in a news release.

Sam's Club operates about 600 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.

  photo  A concept landscape plan for a Costco Wholesale store, planned for the southwest corner of West Pleasant Grove Road and Concord Street in Lowell, is seen here in a document submitted to the city of Lowell.

Print Headline: Mayor: Costco to open Lowell store


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