Costco China closes early due to overcrowding, traffic jams on opening day: Report

Costco closed early on the opening day of its first store in China because of overcrowding, according to reports.

The retail giant reportedly sent a notice to shoppers on its app saying that it needed to close early because of the crowds and traffic in the suburban Shanghai neighborhood, AFP reported.

"Due to overcrowding in the market, and in order to provide you with a better shopping experience, Costco will temporarily close on the afternoon of August 27. Please avoid coming," the notification reportedly said.

The outlet reported that the store was packed with shoppers, causing shopping cart-gridlock, and even leading to shoving for access to goods.

Meanwhile, drivers reportedly complained about 3-hour waits to get into the parking lot, according to the outlet.

A video that was posted on Twitter shows huge crowds of people with their shopping carts standing in lines and groups.

A spokesperson for the retailer told AFP that the store plans to open as usual on Wednesday.

Costco’s opening comes at a time when other international retailers have failed to succeed in the Chinese market including French retailer Carrefour and German wholesaler Metro, AFP had previously reported.

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However, Costco’s senior vice president for Asia, Richard Zhang previously told the outlet that Costco carefully marketed the brand to Chinese consumers, building brand-awareness. Zhang also suggested it could help that Sam’s Club -- another membership-based warehouse -- has been in China for more than 20 years.


"Chinese consumers are ready to pay for a membership card that grants them an exclusive privilege to buy at a warehouse store, it's not a new concept in the country," Zhang told AFP. "A mature market saves us efforts in educating customers."

Zhang did tell the outlet there are concerns over tariffs and the trade war between the U.S. and China.

Already, Zhang said, some U.S. importers have been replaced with Australian importers.