Costco readies to open in France

After four years of dealing with ups and down, Costco (NASDAQ:COST) is almost ready to open its first store in France. The move to open the international space is key to the retailer's larger global expansion.

Possibly as soon as next spring, Costco will open its warehouse store in a country with powerful brands such as Carrefour, Auchan and Casino, similar big-box retailers that sell everything from food to home products, Seattle Times reported.

Thus far, Costco's global moves have been successful in Canada and Australia due to its deep discounts on quality products. But in France, the already existing brands are in price wars, leaving the question as to whether Costco's prices will be low enough to stand out. However, the volatile food market could be an advantage to Costco.

Half of the warehouses Costco opens each year are abroad as the U.S. market is becoming saturated with warehouse-type stores. France would be Costco's third European country after the U.K. and Spain.

Costco also has about 20 warehouses in Japan, a country with twice the population of France. And in China, Costco works with e-commerce retailer Alibaba (NYSE:BABA).

Costco will not comment on the possible move just yet and is waiting for firm details. But Gary Swindells, the head of Costco France, has spoken in the past about the company's ambitions. He said that Costco hopes to open 15 warehouses in France over the next 10 years.

The French government has rebuffed Costco several times, claiming the warehouses are not attuned to the quality architecture of the country.

For more:
-See this Seattle Times article

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