Costco vs Walmart

Costco just overtook Walmart as Canada's second-largest retailer

It's official: Canadian shoppers prefer buying their shampoo and ketchup in bulk more than... whatever it is that people still go to meatspace Walmart for these days.

Costco has overtaken Walmart Canada as the country's second-largest retailer, according to a senior analyst for the global data and insights firm Kantar.

Amar Singh told Retail Insider in a piece published Monday that Costco plays second fiddle in Canada only to Loblaws Inc., which remains the country's largest retailer across all channels.

Coming in at fourth and fifth place nationwide are two other popular grocery brands, Sobeys and Metro.

It's the "grocery" part of the equation that has, in fact, given Costco its recent boost.

"It's more becoming a grocery store now with a very strong grocery presence," said Singh of Costco. "And it still delivers on its true value hunt experience which Canadians love."

Along with the strategic placement of its Canadian locations in the suburbs of large urban centres, Costco's success can also be attributed to its understanding of what Canadian shoppers want.

"Canadians are value driven shoppers. What that means is they expect good quality but pricing is important to them," he said to Retail Insider.

"The price value equation is very important to them. As well, Canadians are open to non-traditional brands... they're open to try new things and try differentiated offers."

Costco has long maintained that its business model relies on memberships — that's where they make most of their money — but the famous big box warehouse store has been expanding on that in recent years with its own house brand goods, home and beauty sections, and even medical devices.

With over 100 warehouses across Canada and more than 12 million members nationwide, it's easy to see how Costco could be giving Walmart a run for its money.

Perhaps one day it'll dethrone the Loblaw's and Shoppers Drug Mart empire.

Lead photo by

Costco Wholesale Canada


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