By Aimee Chanthadavong

EXCLUSIVE: In the last week, there have been several reports in the news forefront claiming that Costco’s chief financial officer and executive vice-president Richard Galanti said the warehouse giant’s intentions to expand in Australia is being hindered by local competitors, Woolworths and Coles.

However, Retailbiz has been contacted by Patrick Noone, Costco’s Australian managing director, who says that “those remarks are being misunderstood” and are “bizarre”.

“I feel that Coles and Woolworths are tenacious competitors on price, on product and on service,” he says.

“But I think in saying that, we [Costco] have a great deal of respect for Woolworths and Coles and their CEOs, but I haven’t come across anything [in the Australian market] that would prohibit or make them responsible for Costco from entering the market.”

Costco, the third-largest retailer in the US and ninth-biggest in the world, has one store in Melbourne’s Docklands and is currently underway in building a store in Auburn, Sydney.