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Costco Hurt By Melbourne’s 5km COVID Restrictions

Costco is feeling the pinch of Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne, as the vast majority of customers live more than 5km from its warehouse locations.

There are four Costco stores in Melbourne, with one in the CBD. The other three are in more remote locations: the industrial part at Moorabbin Airport; Ringwood, 23km from Melbourne’s CBD; and Epping, 20km from the city centre.

Patrick Noone, Country Manager at Costco Wholesale Australia, told The Australian that he had asked the Victorian government whether any concessions could be made given the geographic spread of his stores, but no allowances had been made.

“We are not really a neighbourhood store and probably at least half, more than half, of our members lay outside the 5km travel zone,” Noone said. “We only have four warehouses in Melbourne and we are a destination shop.”

By comparison, Costco’s main competitors – i.e., Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, and independent grocery stores – generally have a wide spread of store locations across the city, allowing them to benefit from the 5km restrictions.

However, the state government appears to be holding firm on its 5km rule across the board.

“We are going to add a few more products on our e-commerce website but we can’t put the entire range of food up there – it is just not practical,” Noone said.

In addition to selling food and alcohol, Costco also sells a wide range of household goods.

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