While some industry watchers doubted how the American discount warehouse brand Costco could fit into the Chinese market, the debut day of the wholesale chain’s first brick-and-mortar store in China was good. Well, perhaps too good.
Formally opened in Shanghai’s Minhang district Tuesday morning, Costco suspended operations in the early afternoon, citing an overly crowded shopping venue. The local public security force even blocked roads nearby to ensure transportation safety.
Some shoppers complained on China’s microblogging platform Weibo that the busy venue reminded them of the world’s largest annual migration—China’s Lunar New Year travel.
According to Costco’s official WeChat account, in the next month the store will offer special discounts on 60 products. A consumer told Caixin the store also sold luxury Hermès and Chanel bags.
Before setting up the Shanghai store, Costco operated online in China. The physical store is shifting the U.S. wholesale company’s strategy to one more like local players’ so-called “new retail” approach, which integrates online and offline services by actively establishing omni-channel partnerships.
Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (firstname.lastname@example.org)