Costco in Australia Opening August 17, 2009

July 22nd, 2009 · 8 Comments

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:

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8 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 nancy saffer // 2009.09.23 at 9:51 pm

    hi my name is nancy saffer i work in NJ USA but i interes work in australia pls send my email tks

  2. 2 John // 2009.08.18 at 3:45 am

    Costco’s opening day in Aussie Land was a huge success. People lining up at 5am for the 7:30am opening ( http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/managing/us-retail-giant-costco-opens-docklands-store-20090817-emxs.html ). One of the best opening day sales ever for a Costco which looks good for future success in this new market.

  3. 3 BB // 2009.08.07 at 7:02 pm

    By the way, Aussies like peanut butter as well as vegemite! :) So I’m sure they’ll have both. The costco.com.au website shows an image with a variety of the items they will have. A lot of them are local. But there are also Jelly Bellies!

  4. 4 BB // 2009.08.07 at 6:57 pm

    Kimberly … my mom was chatting to her Costco checker recently (in AZ) and she said that at international locations they usually have the same basic items, but also have a local specialty. My money is on the good old Aussie Meat Pie!

    I’ve just had some interesting comments from someone on a social networking site who is busy working at the new Costco, stocking the warehouse. He seems to agree with what you say … I am just a *little* excited 😀

    I will try to get enough information together for a “guest post”. I saw you were inviting them a few days ago so will email you. I’ve also been inspired by you to gather some old shopping receipts and enter them into a spreadsheet so I can do some price comparisons with local prices. I’d love to get some information out there, as I am pretty keen to have Costco be successful here in Australia. There are a lot of nay-sayers and bad attitude about it here. And a LOT of misinformation – such as the 10 gallons of mayo myth!

    (Note: I’ve put in a different email in this post, if you wish to contact me please use that as I don’t check the other one.)

  5. 5 Kimberly // 2009.08.07 at 7:01 am

    I can’t wait to hear all about the first Australian Costco! From what I’ve heard they have similar products even in the non-US locations, however, they do always try to cater to local tastes and incorporate that into the selection as well. But you can see that even in the US, I think.

    Wonder if they’ll have different things in the Food Court?

  6. 6 BB // 2009.08.06 at 6:53 pm

    We are in the 10 day countdown for the opening in Melbourne! I grew up in the US in a real Costco-loving family so I cannot wait. If I think of it, I will take some photos and provide some comments … I am sure the US readers would love to know what the similarities and differences are between US and Australian locations! I know I am DYING to find out if they will have mostly the same products or mostly local ones. I know they will be importing some Kirkland and international brand grocery items (like diapers, laundry detergent, business shirts, etc). But I am really interested to know whether they will be having any of the same fresh and packaged foods that you report on, or if they will have a totally different variety of items to suit the local market.

  7. 7 Melinda // 2009.07.26 at 4:25 am

    Hi I live in Melbourne and have already joined Costco. Very excited can’t wait to go> Any tips for our first visit and what to expect Thanks so much Melinda

    • 8 Kimberly // 2009.07.28 at 6:50 am

      Melinda, congrats on the new membership! Hopefully you’ll feel like Costco is as good a value for you, as I do. Here are my quick thoughts on tips:

      * The cakes and cupcakes are way better than you might think and certainly some of the best ones I’ve ever tasted that didn’t come out of my own kitchen (or someone else’s home).

      * Know the prices and sizes from a regular store for the items you buy frequently so that you can quickly compare them to Costco’s prices. Since it seems like there is lots of room for competitiveness on price in Australia, I feel confident that Costco will be the big winner here.

      * Costco has an awesome return policy. Know it and embrace it fully. They will give you a refund on anything you don’t like without a bunch of whining and complaining or questioning…and no additional paperwork to fill out either. And they don’t have a time period on this for normal store items; clothes, books, food all of it is returnable. For electronics, computers and televisions, you can only take things back in the first 90 days though.

      * The food court has a great deal on a quick lunch of a hot dog and drink for a $1.50 (USD) and that price hasn’t changed for 24 years. They have some other great things there too but this is the one mainstay.

      * There’s always something new at Costco, be it food, stuff for the house or clothing. They sell a small set of items (if you consider 3,700 items small) but they change it up quite a bit to keep it fresh and to keep you guessing about what will be coming next.

      * They also change products to get you to buy things that you kind of want but are worried will be gone before you make it back. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you will remember to take things back that you decide you don’t really need.

      * There are a lot of things that you can stock up on and not have to buy for a few months or even a year. And you definitely have to figure that in when you’re buying things one week and the bill is huge but the next it’s far less.

      * Take advantage of the coupon books! They offer some really great deals and it is very low on the hassle scale.

      * There’s more to Costco than just what you see in the warehouse, so make sure you check out their website and assorted services on offer in your area. The services aren’t always a home run, like the stores are, but you should at least know what’s available because often you’ll get a good deal using your Costco membership.

      * Don’t over do it on your first couple of visits. Make sure you’re going to have room and be able to use stuff in those quantities before you buy stuff. It can be tempting to overbuy because there are so many great deals, but try to keep that feeling in check! Otherwise, I’ll worry that you’ll grow to hate Costco for ‘making’ you buy stuff that you can use.

      Okay, I think that is all I can think of at the moment. Be sure to come back and let us all know your impressions of the new Costco once it opens.

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