In June, the hypermarket giant opened its first store in the outskirts of Paris. Costco, famous for selling cheap products in bulk, is the largest American membership-only warehouse chain and the second largest retailer in the world, after Walmart. Although its decision to cross into France was met with pessimism and predictions of its downfall, the brand’s performance seems to be proving its critics wrong.
Costco’s success in the U.S. is pinned on its incredibly low prices, made possible by selling to the public at wholesale quantities. Thus, Americans can buy Campbell’s soup at $1.30 per can, but only if they buy 8 at a time. For some, this is quite removed from French ideals. Culture “is much less about abundance and excess [in France],” Doug Stephens, the founder of the consulting firm Retail Prophet, told The Atlantic. Stephens may be surprised, then, by the 12,000 people in the first 10 days who paid the €36 membership fee required to shop at the store.
According to Forbes, the chain will open another 15 units in France by 2025, which may pose a serious threat to French staples like Carrefour and Auchan. French daily Le Parisien reported that there are six supermarkets just kilometers away from the new Costco location, making competition quite fierce.
It may be the brand’s “American touch” that wins over some customers. The Atlantic notes shoppers snapping up products with names such as Real American Super Buns and Shipyard American IPA beer. The American hotdog also made the journey to France and shoppers can buy them at the Costco food bar for €1.99.
Read more at The Atlantic.