06 January 2016

AMERICAN retail giant Costco has flagged the possibility of opening a Darwin store, with plans afoot to extend the company’s Australian presence beyond the eastern seaboard.

Costco Australia managing director Patrick Noone said “second tier” cities such as Darwin, Newcastle and Wollongong were a high priority for the retailer, and would be looked at following the company’s immediate plans for expansion Down Under.

“They’re the places for the next growth for sure,” Mr Noone told A Current Affair.

Mr Noone said Costco’s business model involved passing savings on to customers, with goods sold in bulk quantities through its no-frills, warehouse-style stores.

Among the quirky items for sale at Costco’s Australian stores are 10kg blocks of Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate and 48-packs of toilet paper.

Chief Minister and Acting Business Minister Adam Giles welcomed the plans, saying the NT was “open for business”.

A Costco spokeswoman said the company was not yet able to comment on its plans for the Northern Territory.

Costco has opened eight stores in Australia since 2008, with each store employing about 200 staff and most new stores including discounted fuel sales.

Chamber of Commerce NT executive officer Brian ­O’Gallagher (pictured) said the interest of national and international retailers in the Territory made a powerful statement about the Top End’s economy.

“It would certainly be a vote of confidence in the economy long term,” he said. “We would welcome them coming here, so long as they did so on equal footing and didn’t get any special treatment.

“It would be a positive move in terms of competition and consumer choice, and the construction of a warehouse as well could bring an injection of jobs.”

Stores are typically located in the suburban fringes or on industrial estates, which suggests Palmerston, Coolalinga or Winnellie could be possible locations.

The move comes six months after Swedish furniture chain Ikea said it would be establishing an “online solution” in Darwin, possibly inc­luding a local pick-up depot.

Extracted in full from NT News.