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Costco Opening This Month!

By jessieduck - 13 July 2011 58

With Costco due to open in a week and a half, I thought I would have a poke around the internet to see what we are in for. Having been to Costcos in Canada and the US, I am excited about the prospect of discounted groceries but also wondering how the typical Canberra home will cope with bulk buying (not many basements around these parts). I’ve paid my $60 membership fee (price is per family, not per person) and am ready to shop but we’re yet to see any emails or received any coupon books from Costco yet. It’s only from checking the website that I can see they are opening on the 22nd.

So quick education for the uninitiated. You need a membership to shop there. Thems are the rules. The stores are huge- a Bunnings style supermarkets with pallets of goods sold mostly in bulk- big bottles, large jars, multi-packs, boxes etc. Kirkland is Costco’s own brand and I guess is comparable to the Woolworth Select model. They sell everything from toilet paper to electronics to diamond rings along with meat, fruit and veg. They also have a food court selling hotdogs, pies, pizza etc and all-you-can-drink sodas (oops sorry, soft drinks). I’ve been told that members will get a coupon book a few times a year that will increase the savings on certain items. Costco is also pretty famous for their staff handing out samples as you move down the aisle (it’s how they get you).

Because I was curious… and had a bit of time on my hands… I jumped on Flickr and looked at “Costco Melbourne” pictures to suss out what they sell here in Australia. Most of the pictures are from 2009 and 2010 but I think the following is a pretty good indication of a fraction of what will be on offer here in Canberra. Don’t laugh, the following is not indicative of what I’ll be buying just what I was able to see prices for:

Box of Tim Tams (equiv to 6 packets) $10.49
1.2kg Shapes biscuits $12.49
Bucket of Vegemite (1kg?) $11.17
Box of 72 Caramello Koalas $23.99
Box of 30 small packets of Red Rock Deli chips $31.99
Box of Crunchies $45.99
4x 160gram Colgate toothpaste $16.98
2x 750ml Head and Shoulders $22.99
2x 354ml Aveeno Bodywash $15.99
5 carat diamond ring $159,999.00 (yes, the decimal point is in the right spot)
120 Crayola crayons $24.99
Ecomonmy pack of Optifree contact lens cleaner $12.99
HP 6 pack colour ink refill $79.99

Meat and fish
Korean marinated beef $13.99kg
Cooked lamb shanks $10.99kg
Prepared chicken parmigiana $12.99kg
Beef tenderloin (bulk) $27.99 kg
1.25kg bucket of marinated baby octopus $19.99
140gram crabmeat $10.99
Prepared salmon steaks $31.99kg
Whole salmon $14.99kg
Chicken thighs $9.49kg
NY striploin (bulk) $15.99kg
Cooked chook $9.99

Cheese
Happy Cow 24 pack $2.99
Soresina Provolone $17.29kg
Parmigino Reggiano $29.99
Jindi Camembert $33.99

There weren’t any pictures of the fruit and veg prices but I am led to believe it’s a very good price in Melbourne so I imagine we’ll get similar. I’ve also heard that TP is something like 30c a roll but you need to buy half a years supply in one go.

Costco might not be the place to shop if you can’t control your impulse buying but otherwise I think it has the potential to save my family money… if I shop smart. I’m willing to give it a go but if it doesn’t work for us, oh well, at least my North American husband will have somewhere to go if he gets homesick.

What’s Your opinion?


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58 Responses to
Costco Opening This Month!
1
capn_pugwash 9:23 am
13 Jul 11
#

We joined up in melbourne before that one opened and have loved it. I would say you would save the membership price in the first few visits easily but if you don’t think it is worth it then i’m pretty sure they refund it! You don’t need to be a large family to shop there by any means. Lots of american products so it is fun to try those but also some local ones too. The bakery, meat, fruit and vegetables are also good. It gives the big supermarkets some competition – they definitely lifted their game in melbourne after costco opened there! They also have very efficient checkouts – kind of like aldi where they zip you through quickly & sometimes they have a second staff member to pack it all into your trolley for you. You can then pack it into bags later or put it straight into your car. If you are thinking of being a tightie and sharing a membership with a friend then be aware that only the member can pay with a card.

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2
harvyk1 9:55 am
13 Jul 11
#

My prediction for costco in Canberra at it’s current site…
Most of Canberra will get a membership, either 104 or 106 will even do some sort of cross promotion with them. 6 months will go by and people will start to realise that it’s a hassle to get out there, but they have made “savings” on massive amounts of stuff. Well not really because they have spend twice as much as what they would have otherwise spent, and gotten 3 times as much as they would have normally, only to then throw half of it out because they realised that they wouldn’t eat 5kg of cheese in a week.

Slowly but surely the lure of the local wollies will again get people back for the convinence factor, people don’t want to drive for an hour and a half to do their weekly shopping, when they can go down to the local wollies and purchase all they need and be back home in less time than it takes to drive to costco.

I expect half the reason why Costco does well in Melbourne is because it’s right near the CBD, in a place with 10 times the population of Canberra.

If you want proof, just look at Brand Depot and DFO. Brand Depot is no more, and DFO still has large area’s which have no shops. Convinence is king in Canberra, and we don’t have the population to operate on cost savings alone…

Before you start telling me “well want about costco in the states it’s in the middle of nowhere” well yes it is, but the states has a massive population compared to us, I’ve driven past one on the outskirts of Los Angeles (same sort of distance away as Costco would be from Canberra), however LA has half the population of Australia living in a single city, they would be able to find enough people in a city of that size who would be willing to drive out to the middle of nowhere to buy stuff.

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3
kschoey 10:09 am
13 Jul 11
#

harvyk1 said :

My prediction for costco in Canberra at it’s current site…
Most of Canberra will get a membership, either 104 or 106 will even do some sort of cross promotion with them. 6 months will go by and people will start to realise that it’s a hassle to get out there, but they have made “savings” on massive amounts of stuff. Well not really because they have spend twice as much as what they would have otherwise spent, and gotten 3 times as much as they would have normally, only to then throw half of it out because they realised that they wouldn’t eat 5kg of cheese in a week.

If you want proof, just look at Brand Depot and DFO. Brand Depot is no more, and DFO still has large area’s which have no shops. Convinence is king in Canberra, and we don’t have the population to operate on cost savings alone…

.

I think the reason that Brand Depot is no more and DFO is half empty has little to do with location and a lot to do with the fact that there were no real bargains to be had. In the case of DFO, most stores stock non discounted items with a few discount racks at the front of the store containing mostly last season stock ie summer stock when it’s now winter.

I (and most of the people I know) are counting down the days until Costco opens. Not everything is sold in massive containers – flour for example is still in the normal sized bags (1kg) but you have to buy a box with 8 in it.

Anyway, each to their own. I can’t wait until 22 July.

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4
what_the 10:32 am
13 Jul 11
#

Anything to drive these ridiculous prices down. I was just over the states, shopping at Walmart where food was less than half price, sometimes down to a third of the price. For exampe – 1Lt of Powerade – $1, $3.50-$4.50 here in Australia for a 750mL.

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5
Stevian 10:33 am
13 Jul 11
#

kschoey said :

harvyk1 said :

My prediction for costco in Canberra at it’s current site…
Most of Canberra will get a membership, either 104 or 106 will even do some sort of cross promotion with them. 6 months will go by and people will start to realise that it’s a hassle to get out there, but they have made “savings” on massive amounts of stuff. Well not really because they have spend twice as much as what they would have otherwise spent, and gotten 3 times as much as they would have normally, only to then throw half of it out because they realised that they wouldn’t eat 5kg of cheese in a week.

If you want proof, just look at Brand Depot and DFO. Brand Depot is no more, and DFO still has large area’s which have no shops. Convinence is king in Canberra, and we don’t have the population to operate on cost savings alone…

.

I think the reason that Brand Depot is no more and DFO is half empty has little to do with location and a lot to do with the fact that there were no real bargains to be had. In the case of DFO, most stores stock non discounted items with a few discount racks at the front of the store containing mostly last season stock ie summer stock when it’s now winter.

I (and most of the people I know) are counting down the days until Costco opens. Not everything is sold in massive containers – flour for example is still in the normal sized bags (1kg) but you have to buy a box with 8 in it.

Anyway, each to their own. I can’t wait until 22 July.

You’re the only one. Most of the people you know? Those are your multiple personalities

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6
Watson 10:40 am
13 Jul 11
#

I fail to understand how anyone can get excited about groceries, but to each their own. I know my mother would love it.

I’ll keep getting my groceries delivered by Coles and be blissfully ignorant about how much money I could be saving if I’d do the 2 hour trip and buy in bulk.

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7
ConanOfCooma 10:44 am
13 Jul 11
#

I can’t wait – My family goes through a couple of those Vegemite buckets a year, and ATM we pay close to $30 for them.

Checking out the site for Melbourne… I can’t wait for this place to open!

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8
Eyl 11:05 am
13 Jul 11
#

I think I’ll just stick with Farmers Direct, Roughly work out the same cost as woolies etc, except its VERY fresh, and delivered to my door. dont have to travel as much, just wish they had other products like t/paper etc then id never have to go to wollies again :) Oh btw we save alot since we dont buy as much eg: used to cost us about $280 f’night to shop at woolies now we spend about $180 f’night (minus some items famers direct dont sell).

Eyl ><

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9
Roguelette 11:06 am
13 Jul 11
#

I can’t wait! My family will be using Costco to stock the pantry and freezer with staples – and to get bulk of the items that drive the weekly grocery budget up (like nappies, laundry detergent and dishwasher powder).

Though only being 15 minutes away we could use it as our regular grocery shopping venue, I don’t think this model of purchasing suits our families needs for most things. However ask me again when I have 2 teenage boys to feed…

Family in Wagga had advised that they received flyers announcing Costco Canberra, so it seems that they feel their market is broader than just Canberra and that people will travel a number of hours to stock up.

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10
arescarti42 11:07 am
13 Jul 11
#

harvyk1 said :

My prediction for costco in Canberra at it’s current site…

Slowly but surely the lure of the local wollies will again get people back for the convinence factor, people don’t want to drive for an hour and a half to do their weekly shopping, when they can go down to the local wollies and purchase all they need and be back home in less time than it takes to drive to costco.

I expect half the reason why Costco does well in Melbourne is because it’s right near the CBD, in a place with 10 times the population of Canberra.

If you want proof, just look at Brand Depot and DFO. Brand Depot is no more, and DFO still has large area’s which have no shops. Convinence is king in Canberra, and we don’t have the population to operate on cost savings alone…

The first thing to note is that Costco is not just a big cheap Woolworths, Woolworths sells groceries, Costco sells groceries in addition to everything else.

It is hard to explain, but if you were to combine Woolworths, Dick Smith, K-Mart, Bunnings, Officeworks and a number of Jewelers, Optometrists, Sporting goods stores, auto service stores, Furniture stores into one giant building, you’re maybe half way to understanding what a Costco sells.

The second thing to note is that this isn’t some ill-conceived project from a Micky Mouse operator like the Canberra Airport or DFO. Cosco is the 9th largest retailer in the world, operating in 9 different countries. They didn’t become so successful from misunderstanding their target customers and opening stores in bad locations.

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11
what_the 11:08 am
13 Jul 11
#

Watson said :

I fail to understand how anyone can get excited about groceries, but to each their own. I know my mother would love it.

I’ll keep getting my groceries delivered by Coles and be blissfully ignorant about how much money I could be saving if I’d do the 2 hour trip and buy in bulk.

Dont forget the ivory backscratcher in the next order 😉

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12
EvanJames 11:09 am
13 Jul 11
#

I’m on the fence. I know in the US people drive into town specially to visit CostCo, and it’s sure worth it. I want to see the products before joining although I read that you have to be a member even to walk in! They certainly don’t try that in the US.

I see a lot of rural folk using the Aldi in Queanbeyan for big stock-up shops, and so expect that a lot of that business will move to CostCo.

Whether the initial interest can be sustained though remains to be seen… Supa Barn had an excellent supermarket there with thousands of cars passing each day and they evidently couldn’t make it pay.

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13
watto23 11:13 am
13 Jul 11
#

I’;m kind of in the wait and see basket with this. I work in Fyshwick, so getting there is actually close after work. But as a single person living in my own house, whether some of the bulk stuff is worth my $60 membership I’m not sure.
The frozen stuff I’d be tempted to buy in bulk would probably require a freezer, which I don’t have.

I don’t really shop at Aldi now, mainly due to convenience factor. I shop at the Woolies next door to an Aldi. I visit aldi when they have non food stuff for sale. So the convenience thing is a big factor. Interestingly there always seems to be a desire for a Ikea here. I think its got more chance of working because people will travel to buy furniture.

What interests me more is that Costco, woolies and supabarn will be there together….
Can’t see how that will work any better than the brand depot.

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14
poetix 11:20 am
13 Jul 11
#

Let’s all become Americans, asap. Ever heard of walking to the shops?

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15
birder 11:30 am
13 Jul 11
#

I’m an American moving to Canberra shortly. When living in the US (I’ve been an expat a few years), I never had a Costco membership because it was just my husband and I, and we tended to buy organic, so shopped at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. However, we now have a toddler, and I can see joining Costco when we move to Canberra. Not only will it give us access to American brands (some of which we do miss), but we do really try to stock up these days. Life is so busy and it’s just better to shop in bulk and less often (except for fruit/vegs, which we buy 1-2x week).

Costco is known in the US for having good employment practices; here’s an article on the topic: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/business/yourmoney/17costco.html

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