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April 17, 2001 at 9:13 AM EDT

Costco Wholesale Corporation Launches B2B E-commerce Site for Faster and Easier Business Shopping

ISSAQUAH, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 17, 2001--Costco Wholesale Corporation ("Costco" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:COST), a leading warehouse club operator, today officially opened a B2B (Business to Business) online shopping site at www.costco.com.

The site allows businesses throughout the United States to shop for their business needs and have products delivered via common carrier. Additionally, Costco members in the greater Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco areas can shop the site's local delivery option and receive next-business-day delivery from the Costco fleet (certain restrictions apply). The B2B site is accessible from the costco.com homepage by clicking on the red business tab.

"The ability to shop online at costco.com for business products is a vital enhancement to the service we offer our members," says David Sinegal, Vice President of Costco Business Center Operations. "Costco Business Center has a history of supplying high-quality business products at the lowest possible prices to our Business Members. Previously, members either shopped the walk-in warehouse or placed orders for delivery via phone or fax. We expect our online site to provide our members a faster and easier method of shopping for all their business products. Costco Business Center's wide breadth of categories, from computers to candy, gives the business person a turnkey procurement solution."

The site has been developed with the business shopper's needs in mind. The goal of the site is to allow shoppers to quickly order their needed items online and get back to their business. The site is easy to navigate and offers an intuitive order entry system, featuring Quick Order Entry, Shopping Lists and Real-time Inventory. Using Quick Order Entry, shoppers can simply enter their item number, quantity and proceed to check out. Shopping Lists allow current orders to be saved as a Shopping List for ease of future order placement. With Real-time Inventory, the online product selection will always be up-to-date and the system will alert shoppers of any low stock quantities or discontinued products before an order is placed.

"Costco is not new to the B2B or e-commerce environment," states Doug Schutt, Senior Vice President of E-Commerce and Special Order Merchandise at Costco. "Our business originated by providing goods to businesses at a great value, and since 1998 we have successfully operated an e-commerce site offering a wide range of product categories, including computers, electronics, floral delivery, fine jewelry, clothing, books, CDs and DVDs and travel packages. Our new B2B site provides one more method for the Business Member to conveniently shop with us."

With more than 34 million Costco cardholders and 86,000 employees worldwide, the Company's sales for fiscal year 2000 exceeded $31 billion. Costco currently operates 352 warehouses, including 253 in the United States, 60 in Canada, 11 in the United Kingdom, four in Korea, three in Taiwan, two in Japan and 19 in Mexico. The Company plans to open an additional 12 to 14 new warehouses prior to the end of its 2001 fiscal year on September 2, 2001.

--30--NTC/se*

CONTACT: Costco Wholesale Corporation
David Sinegal, 425/313-8316
Richard Galanti, 425/313-8203
Bob Nelson, 425/313-8255