Costco set for rapid expansion

Wholesale grocery giant Costco could open up to three stores in Western Australia by 2020, according to its chief.

The retail chain is yet to break into the WA market and regulatory approval is still pending before it can begin construction on its first store near Perth Airport. Costco already operates nine other stores across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT. Another warehouse has also been earmarked for Ipswich near Brisbane.

And Costco’s Australian chief, Patrick Noone, isn’t hiding his plans for more stores.

Speaking to Today Tonight, Mr Noone said: “Two buildings at this point in time we’re looking at… Perth Airport is the obvious place for us to invest given its proximity to the CBD, the great transport links and the way it is growing into a consumer-focused retail hub.”

Mr Noone also highlighted two other potential store locations in the north of Perth. The airport location is reported to cost $55 million in construction and will provide up to 275 retail jobs when completed. The store will have a 14,000m² layout.

“Costco needed somewhere that could provide space for their warehouse with connectivity to freight routes, and still be close and accessible to the shopping public across Perth,” said Perth Airport CCO Steven Holden.

Costco has seen a rapid expansion in Australia and while most of its stores are in major cities, it also has plans to target smaller cities such as Darwin, Cairns and Townsville. It has over 740 locations worldwide.

Is Costco worth a visit?

Costco charges a membership fee of $60 to access its stores, but guests can obtain a guest pass to look around first.

Costco also operates fuel stations at many of its locations, with Canstar Blue research indicating that shoppers are quite satisfied with the price of Costco fuel. In 2017 the chain took out top spot to earn five stars for overall satisfaction, but in 2018 it slipped and was rated four stars.

Costco was, however, the only chain to achieve five stars for the price of petrol, often selling at a few cents cheaper per litre than the competition. It was also the only brand to achieve five stars for service station cleanliness and appearance.

Canstar Blue research indicates that customers, on average, spend about $140 per month on fuel, with 55 per cent saying that fuel is a major strain on their household budget.

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