Why Does Costco Close So Early

Costco is one of the most popular bulk retailers right now. They enjoy a reputation for high-quality products available at low prices while also having a reputation for treating their workers well and offering more than competitive prices. 

However, there is one drawback. Unlike most retailers that want expanded hours to attract as many customers as possible, Costco keeps their hours more limited. There are many reasons, but it can sometimes be inconvenient for customers. 

So here’s why Costco closes early, especially on the weekends, and some reasons for having a more limited schedule work for this retail giant. 

What Are Costco’s Hours Of Operation?

There may be some differences in store hours regionally or location to location, but most Costco locations stick with a standard set of hours of operation. 

Costco is typically open from 10 AM-8:30 PM on weekdays. 

Costco gas stations usually have longer hours of operation, generally from about 6 AM-9 PM, but they don’t usually offer overnight hours. 

Weekend hours are more restricted, with most Costco locations opening a little earlier on Saturdays, usually around 9 AM, and closing earlier, around 7 PM. 

Sundays are typically 10 AM-6 PM, but there are some location-by-location differences. 

Costco is also closed for several U.S. holidays: 

  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Why Doesn’t Costco Stay Open Longer If They’re So Busy? 

There are a few reasons Costco doesn’t stay open longer, and they can help explain why there are some location changes in the actual hours of operation. 

Costco does the math for each location to determine whether the profit from another hour or two of operation would offset the additional cost of staffing the warehouse for that additional time. In most places, it isn’t. 

So, instead of staying open longer for profits that aren’t worth the additional cost (Costco is looking to do more than break even on that time), they keep work hours minimal and usually only have a couple of shifts. That way, their employees can have a very consistent schedule, and they are only open to the company for the most profitable time. 

Keeping minimal hours also helps to optimize employees’ work time. Costco isn’t likely to be dead the way other retailers can sometimes be. Still, by keeping their hours stricter, they get a better ratio of customers to employees in the warehouse because there are usually more customers in-store anytime they’re open than most of their competitors. 

Why Does Costco Close So Early On Weekends? 

Many retailers are looking to make the best of weekend shopping by staying open longer or later, just like restaurants that want to catch the nightlife crowd on their way to or from weekend events. 

Costco doesn’t do that, though, closing early on the weekends and opening only a little earlier than they would on a weekday. But if you’ve ever been to Costco on the weekends, you know that they are crowded the whole time they are open. So why close so early? 

There are a few reasons:

Cost Savings

The main reason is the same reason Costco doesn’t stay open as late as some stores on weekdays. They aren’t trying to compete with the local 24-hour Walmart, and their business makes it so that staying open for longer hours doesn’t necessarily offer the profits they need to justify the additional costs and changes to employee schedules. 

Optimized Shifts And Work/Life Balance

Another big reason for Costco’s hours is their care about employee work/life balance. By offering more limited hours, they can minimize the amount of schedule variance from week to week, which gives employees a better chance to plan other things around work, makes it easier to have hobbies, takes care of family, and attends special events. 

Because Costco Pays Weekend Workers Time And A Half 

One of the big reasons? For their weekend workers, Costco offers time and a half or holiday pay. That’s a huge perk for employees, but it also means that the warehouses have to be even more profitable during the hours they are open on the weekend to justify keeping employees working. 

It’s a great way to show loyalty to your employees, but it does mean that Costco customers need to be careful to show up when the stores are open! 

Is Costco Ever Not Busy? 

Costco intentionally runs its warehouses in a way that keeps them pretty busy. But savvy shoppers know that you often find the best deals and have a better shopping experience when you aren’t too crowded in the warehouse. 

So is there a time when Costco isn’t busy? 

Well… yes and no. Costco locations are rarely empty, despite their size, but experienced Costco members say that the best time to shop is often in the early afternoon on a weekday when most people are still at work. And the best day? Thursday in most locations, but that does vary a little more from store to store. 

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