Normally, I would put a simple link to this information on my Costco Locations page. However, this is such big news for those in Australia, I figured it deserved its own post. As you may know, Costco will be opening its very first store in Australia on August 17, 2009. They’ve been talking about making this expansion for quite some time, so this is really exciting. This first location will be located in the Docklands, on the outskirts of Melbourne’s central business district. The $60.00 (AUS) membership fee, hasn’t put people off either, considering that they have exceeded their membership sing-up forecasts at this point. Word from Patrick Noone, the Australian Managing Director for Costco, says that they are slated to open another location in the western suburbs of Sydney in 2010. If those locations do well, more stores will be built around the country. How can they not do well, since everyone loves Costco?
The other good news for those around this new location, is that this may lead to a lowering of prices at other grocery stores. Costco will be the first warehouse club in Australia for sure, but it will also provide some much needed competition for the two main stores Woolworth’s and Coles (Wesfarmers); those two chains control around 75% of the grocery sales. The new 151,000 square foot Costco store will be almost 3 times as large as the typical grocery store in Australia. So, you’d think that would be a big advantage, right from the start, but of course Costco will still only carry about 3,800 items.
Keeping up with variation in local tastes, instead of bulk packages of peanut butter popular in the US, Costco may stock items such as large sizes of Vegemite. The Australian unit has no plans to sell coffins, as some US locations do, Noone said. He expects the product range to evolve as Costco gains acceptance from consumers. “If we can get good volume we will stock it and sell it,” Noone said. “We look at areas we can show great value and that is why we sell diamonds and liquor and candy and all the other things.”
To read more about the new Costco in Australia: