When you walk around any Costco in Australia, or anywhere around the world, you will notice that most prices end with a .99 or other 9 cent denominations. From time to time you will notice the last digit is something other than the typical 9 cents. The most common you will find is .97 cents as the last digits. I noticed this a few years ago and it seemed to align with an item that was old stock and once gone it didn’t return. Often those items were on display near the front of the store as the last few left.
I did some hunting around and confirmed what I thought it was, a marked down price to clear the item. Len Rapoport confirmed this for US stores on his post ‘Secret Price Codes Will Save You Money At Costco’. It seems this is also true for Australian stores. Here are some examples from a trip around Costco in Ringwood this week:
Philips HR1659 Stick Mixer/Blender set – $99.97. This was around the $130 mark a couple of weeks ago and is around $180 at other retailers (that will save your $60 membership in one transaction!)
Brother P1090 Label Maker – $15.97. This was an item brought in with the back to school products at the start of the year and was in the $20-30 range originally. Now that school is back you can pick up this label maker cheap at any Australian Costco’s that may still have stock.
Debden Vauxhall 2014 Day-To-A-Page Diary Pack – $4.97. These were around the $20 mark before the new year but 4 months in to 2014 the value has dropped. Unfortunately these are not refillable as the other models of day planner Costco has stocked in their Australian stores in previous years.
Paper Mate Profile Pen 20 Pack – $9.97. I bought a pack of these a few months ago at full price and they were in the order of $15-20 originally at Costco’s Australian Warehouses. What really make this a bargain is a 4-pack of the same pens at Officeworks is $7.96, so they are $1.99 per pen at Officeworks where Costco has them for under 50 cents a pen.
Nike Lunar Golf Shoes – $59.97. These might be last year’s model, but looking around at online retailers these golf shoes are around the $120 mark including at Rebel Sport, so a good bargain for golfers (not gophers…sorry, Caddyshack reference) here if they have your size left.
These prices ending in .97 usually show up in the homewares, hardware, apparel, office products and electronics sections of Costco. Every now and then you will also find these specials on food items but I suggest buyer beware. If a food item is marked with .97 at the end of the price then make sure that it is something you can finish before the expiry or best before date. A recent example from the food aisles we have seen was a 3 x 500g pack of Arnott’s Family Assorted Cream biscuits was dropped from the normal Costco price of $9.97 initially and then to $4.97 at which point I bought some. The best before date was about 5 weeks from the date of purchase.
Also noted on Len’s page is there are other codes and prices that Costco use in the USA to indicate a special price. To date I have not noticed any of them to be relevant to Australia. What I did come across on my last trip was a price ending in .96 and a product I had my eye on. The Babco 16 Piece Clamp Set shown below was $39.97 when I looked at it a couple of weeks ago and was around the $45 mark when Costco first stocked it in Australian stores. So what does a price ending in .96 mean? I don’t know but perhaps it means it is a super special or it is at or below cost price. In any event, if the price of an item you are looking at in Costco doesn’t end in a 9 cent denomination you may want to grab it as it may not be there next week or ever again.