retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Times has a story saying that Costco "is gradually putting more chips overseas as it outgrows the U.S. market," with plans for 14 out of 30 units it will open next year scheduled to be overseas. Two will be in Spain, "the company’s first foray into continental Europe," and the company already is eyeing a location in France for 2015.

According to the story, "Costco’s plans for fiscal 2014 include four new stores in Australia, three in Canada, one in Mexico, two in Korea and two in Japan. Its U.S. plans include 16 new stores … As of Nov. 26, the company had 461 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 187 locations in other countries."

While global markets seem attractive to Costco, the company's management seems less enamored with the concept of same-day home delivery of Internet purchases, an area in which Amazon is making a considerable investment. While the story notes that Costco has "started a partnership with Google to deliver bulk items to homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, but so far it remains experimental."

However, Costco CFO Richard Galanti describes the Google partnership as "small" and a "test," saying, “We’ll keep looking at it. We have no plans currently to deliver to homes."
KC's View:
The Google partnership may be a small test, but I suspect it is not an isolated test … they almost certainly is a lot of paddling going on below the surface as Costco seeks to figure out where it fits in the e-commerce continuum.