Costco U.K. Trading Director Steve Barnett Passes

Wed. April 15th, 2020
- by Jordan Okumura     

UNITED KINGDOM - It is with a heavy heart that AndNowUKnow learned of the recent passing of Costco U.K.’s Trading Director Steve Barnett. The retailer’s team expressed extreme sadness over the the death of a retail leader who was crucial to the launch of Costco’s U.K. division in 1993.

“With deep sadness, we want to let everyone know of the passing of Steve Barnett. Steve was a businessman, a tremendous leader, and a very good friend to many at Costco,” a statement from the retailer reads. “His presence and personality will be missed at every level within the company here in the U.K. and across the international Costco team. The impact that Steve has had on Costco U.K. cannot be measured. The buying team’s ethics, drive, and success are as a result of Steve’s leadership. Steve’s fundamental belief in Costco’s ethics and the impact on the welfare of Costco employees and vendors was the focus of his every instruction and continuing development of a sustainable buying program was his passion. It is all about the people, and Costco’s ethics is how he started many presentations to employees, vendors, and conferences, and his actions showed this was true every day.”

Barnett held the Trading Director position for 15 years and also served on the Federation of Wholesale Distributor’s (FWD) council.

“Steve made a massive contribution to both Costco and the wholesale sector’s development over many years and was one of the original Costco team in the U.K. His pride at working for Costco was evident to all who encountered him,” commented FWD Chief Executive Officer James Bielby in a statement. “Suppliers who dealt with Steve knew him as the toughest of negotiators but one who was held in the highest respect, with his dry sense of humor and sense of decency apparent to all. Steve was a great supporter of FWD as the Costco Council representative, and a regular speaker at our conferences and seminars. His insightful contributions and unfailing support were hugely valued by all his fellow FWD members. Steve had a great sense of fun and loved a wind-up, but he was one of the nicest and kindest people in our industry, as well as someone who took a huge interest in the world around him, with some strongly argued but sincerely held opinions on a whole range of issues. Thank you for everything you did for our trade, Steve. You will be missed by us all.”

Barnett leaves behind his wife, Annette, and two children, Jessica and Izzie.

Our condolences go out to Steve Barnett's family and loved ones at this time. We, at AndNowUKnow, are holding a space for you all in our hearts.