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Costco had a smashing 2021, closing the year in record-breaking style as the pandemic eased and shoppers returned to in-person shopping at their favorite retailers. Costco's $5 billion in net income was 25% higher than in the year prior. With inflation surging to a four-decade high, the wholesaler raised its prices but still saw a 91% membership renewal rate. Like many other employers in the U.S., Costco raised its minimum wage in the fight to retain talent, upping that rate to $17 in October 2021. The warehouse supermarket giant partnered with Uber to trial a delivery service in Texas, and it collaborated with public health authorities to help get America vaccinated against COVID. Seeing more foot traffic in its stores, Costco debuted touchless condiment dispensers in its food courts, and brought back customer favorites like churros and smoothies to its menu. Costco pleased investors as well as shoppers in 2021 by delivering a 52% shareholder return for the year.
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