By Claire Reilly
The steady Australian growth of US retail giant Costco is set to continue, with the retailer gearing up to open two new stores in Sydney and Melbourne within the next two months.
The retailer is putting the finishing touches on its Ringwood store in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and, though there has been no official announcement of an opening date, the store is expected to open in November, according to Costco Australia country manager Patrick Noone.
Just one day after the Ringwood store opening, Costco will also be opening a warehouse in the Crossroads Homemaker Centre in Liverpool, roughly 40 kilometres south west of the Sydney CBD.
As far as Ringwood is concerned, the large-format store will employ some 375 staff in a location that was chosen to help Costco serve more of the Melbourne market.
“Docklands [Costco’s existing Melbourne Store] is on the western side of Melbourne and Ringwood is on the east, so demographically, we should get those two big groups of people,” said Noone. “Ringwood will offer the same as we offer in Docklands: great items at great prices. So it will just be a matter of us expanding on the market.
“Melbourne has four million people so we see that there are going to be a number of Costcos in Melbourne in the future.”
Costco won’t be alone in Ringwood; the big box retailer will be opening up around the corner from a number of other large retail competitors, including Big W. But Noone is not concerned about going up against other established stores.
“We’re up against competitors right now, everywhere we go, so we don’t see any problem with that,” he said. “There’s lots of room in the market for competition. We’re also a trade business supplier, so we’ll be able to supply a lot of those businesses with their goods and services as well.”
Based on initial responses, including numbers of consumers signing up for membership for the new store, Noone said it was a case of “so far, so good” and that he expected the Ringwood store to perform well.
“There are already a lot of Costco members out that way, and they’ll come and shop with us hopefully. So far our marketing has been really well received and we’re signing up a whole bunch of new members, so we’re really happy with that.”
The reception for the new store seems to be representative of Costco’s overall performance in the local marketplace since it first launched, according to Noone.
“We’ve done well," he said. "We’re offering good products at good prices and I think that we can always improve our offer. That’s what we work on every day — to have the best price on the best items.”