The United States discount retailer Costco’s arrival in Australia has been delayed by planning regulation problems.
Costco had planned to open the first of five warehouse-style mega-stores in 2008 to challenge the dominance of Woolworths and Wesfarmer’s Coles Group.
But Patrick Noone from Costco told The Australian Financial Review that he is yet to secure permission for a single store. “We’re looking at sites in Melbourne and Sydney but don’t have any firm deals.”
The comments follow a complaint by Germany’s Aldi to the ACCC inquiry into grocery prices that access to suitably zoned and located sites is a significant barrier to entry for new retailers.
It’s not just Coles and Woolworths that are expected to be under pressure from Costco discounting when it finally starts opening stores – now expected to be 2009.
The US-owned chain, which has 500 stores and $US64 billion turnover worldwide, is expected to crunch specialty retailers with its low prices for general merchandise ranging from clothing and manchester to furniture, electrical appliances, cars, coffins and travel and insurance services.