Costco starts building $100m NZ debut but opening delayed

The world’s second largest retailer has begun building its first New Zealand store in its $100 million entry to this country – but it won’t be opening next year as it originally announced.

Patrick Noone, Costco Australia and New Zealand managing director, today told around 300 Property Council members in Auckland of a new date.

Addressing the retail conference at the Aotea Centre via a digital linkup from Australia, Noone revealed a change of plans.

When last winter he announced the United States giant’s arrival here, he said the first store in Auckland would be up by 2021 but today he said it would not now open till 2022. Covid appears to have affected its plans.

Haydn & Rollett Construction won the contract to build the vast new store at Westgate and earthworks have been under way near Harvey Norman for about the past eight weeks.

“It’s all go!” said Campbell Barbour of NZ Retail Property Group, which sold Costco the land and is master-planning Westgate’s expansion.

Noone said Australian memberships start from around A$55 each. No price point has been announced yet for Kiwis.

Costco aims to sell major brand items for 20 per cent to 30 per cent of prices elsewhere.

Noone said Costco was an extremely efficient business and he showed off some of the major brands it sells globally.

Costco, second only to Walmart, has 788 stores, which it calls warehouses, around the world of which 548 are in the US. It has 101.8 million customers who buy memberships to be able to shop there.

Noone said Costco planned new stores in Townsville, Darwin, Hobart, Christchurch, Wellington and would “infill” by building new stores in other suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne.

The biography which went with Noone’s Property Council speech today said he started his retail career with Woolworths Supermarkets in 1978 in Melbourne as a trainee manager, working at several stores and in management positions, including store manager of Niddrie and Shepperton supermarkets in Victoria.

In 1985, he moved to Canada with his Canadian wife, working at supermarket chain Loblaw’s in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.Noone helped start and operate the Loblaw’s superstore concept, “the real Canadian superstore”, managing buildings in Edmonton, Canada and several new stores in Vancouver, the council biography said.

In 1991, he helped launch the membership warehouse concept in Canada in 1991, working with the Price Club group in Vancouver.

“After the merger with Costco in 1993, Patrick went on to manage several Costco Warehouses in the Vancouver market, eventually being promoted to regional operations manager in 2003, and vice president in Western Canada in 2005,” the bio said.

In 2006, he shifted to Australia as country manager for Costco Australia.

In 2009, Costco opened its first warehouse in Melbourne’s Docklands. New Costco stores in Sydney and Canberra were opened in 2011.

In November 2013, Costco opened another two warehouses: at Liverpool, New South Wales, and at Ringwood, Victoria.Costco North Lakes, in Queensland, opened in May, 2014.

“Patrick and his wife Lauren live in Sydney and his son Brendan has completed a master’s degree in international relations at Melbourne University,” his biography said.

Costco’s website today shows the US-headquartered business has 12 stores in Australia from Sydney to Perth.

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