US discount retailer is about to open its second warehouse-format store in Melbourne, "ground zero" in its battle with supermarket leaders Woolworths and Coles.
The Asia-Pacific region has established itself as an important centre of growth for North American discount retailer Costco.
Australia has been singled out for a drive to sign up new members as shoppers embrace its club membership model.
During an earnings update for its second-quarter performance, Costco revealed plans to open 14 warehouse stores between now and 1 September, the end of its financial year, of which half would be in Australia and Asia.
The US discount retailer Costco has underscored its escalating competitive threat to Woolworths and Coles by posting its maiden annual profit in Australia since opening its warehouse stores here four years ago. It has also received a further AUD50 million (USD52.2m) from its US parent to bankroll an aggressive push in the region.
Australian shoppers are the biggest fans of US discount retailer Costco outside its native American market, filling their oversized shopping baskets with everything from bulk purchases of toilet paper to plasma TVs at the fastest rate the warehouse store has seen.
US discount supermarket giant Costco will open its second Melbourne store in Ringwood next year, the company announced on Wednesday.
Construction of the 14,500 square-metre warehouse at the old Ringwood market site is expected to start within months and be completed by late 2013.
The store will be only the second to open in Melbourne since the retail giant entered the Australian market in 2009, with a warehouse store at Docklands.
Wholesale membership distributor Costco has been fined TWD200,000 (USD6,605) for false labelling of apples and misleading advertising, Taiwan's Cabinet-level Fair Trade Commission said on Thursday. The New Zealand Queen apples and Rose apples promoted in Costco's catalogue are wrongly labelled as New Zealand Queen Rose apples in English. Both varieties share the same labelling in Chinese but their English labelling should be distinguished, according to the commission.
Cut-price, bulk-buying mecca Costco has refused to put a dampener on reports they will be opening a store in Australia's Brisbane.
The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday reported the US warehouse chain had a claim on a parcel of land at Stockland's North Lakes Business Park and was about to seal the deal on the land for between AUD10 million (USD10.1m) and AUD15m.
A Brisbane outlet, selling everything from groceries to televisions to car tyres, would be the company's fourth store in Australia since 2009.
US supermarket giant Costco has opened its newest store in Sydney on Thursday. The 12,500-square-meter warehouse is Costco's second store in Australia. A third store was also opened in Canberra on Friday.
Costco is the latest entrant to Australia's competitive supermarket space challenging the dominance of Coles and Woolworths. "I see a lot of opportunity in the Australia market and in bringing new branded goods to market. There's a wealth of opportunity for people that have the right business model," the company's Australian head Patrick Noone said.
US-based warehouse club operator Costco is investing AUD 40million (USD38.7m) in its Australian business this year. The investment comes on top of last year’s AUD100 million (USD96.8m) capital expenditure in the country, when it opened its first store in Melbourne. A second store is due to open in Auburn and another is expected to open in Sydney next year.
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US discount retailer Costco booked USD9 million in sales and memberships in the first two weeks that its Australian maiden store in Melbourne was open, reflecting shoppers' enthusiasm for its model and underlining the threat to Woolworths and Coles.
Costco Wholesale Australia, which is building its second store in Sydney, is still mired in red ink as it goes about building its national network, having posted a loss of USD14.13 million for the 52 weeks to 30 August 2009.