Costco looks forward to healthy competition with Masters

By Claire Reilly

The Woolworths group has continued its expansion of the Masters retail chain with the opening of a new home improvement warehouse in Canberra’s Majura park this week. The new store is on the same site as other Woolworths’ retail brands, including Big W, Dick Smith and the largest Woolworths supermarket in Australia, as well as the American membership-only retailer Costco.

Speaking to about the arrival of Masters around the corner from its Canberra store, Costco’s country manager Patrick Noone said the new store would be a welcome addition to the local retail scene.

“I think it’s great that we’re able to have all the large boxes together in the one area,” said Noone. “We don’t carry the same items at all, so I think it gives the consumer a lot more choice and brings a lot more people to that market, and we’re happy to compete with our offer against anyone. I think it’s good for the consumer.”

“Strategically, it’s a great shopping experience down in Majura – you’ve got us there, you’ve got the Big W and Woolworths and the Masters there. So it’s an interesting place to go to and you’ve got a full range of merchandise to look at. However, as far as we’re concerned, our offer is fairly compelling.”

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However, while Noone insisted Costco had different a product offering to Masters, the retailer will be competing with Masters in the appliance category, with both retailers using a low-price model in the their electrical departments.

But Noone is unfazed by competition in the appliance and electrical categories.

“We’re pretty content with whatever they’re offering,” he said. “Our prices are better and sharper.

"We don’t carry all the items that Masters have all year long, but we’ll have those better selling appliances and we’ll have a core SKU range throughout the year at a better price, and during the year we’ll also intensify our offer.

“I’m not at all threatened by Masters. Obviously they’re keen competitors, we keep our eye on them all the time, and we make sure that their competitiveness makes us better.”

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