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How can Costco keep wholesale in its name when Sam’s Club had to remove it?

F.T. Norton
Costco sign

The sign on the Costco store on Gingerwood Drive in Wilmington. (StarNews photo by Jim Ware)

It can’t, according to Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti.

A 1990 court ruling out of the Tar Heel state determined the use of the word wholesale is reserved for businesses who sell at least 50 percent of their goods for resale.

Sam’s Club, the focus of the 1990 lawsuit, only sold 11 to 15 percent for resale. The ruling just applies to the businesses operating in North Carolina.

While Sam’s Club decided to change the logos on all its stores for continuity purposes, Costco chose to only modify their logo in North Carolina.

“Sam’s elected to make the change universal, whereas we made the choice to make the change in that state only,” said Galanti in an email.

If you go to the Costco on Gingerwood Drive in Wilmington you’ll see the sign reads just “Costco.” In Carson City, Nev., the sign reads “Costco Wholesale.”

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