Crowds force early closure of first Costco store in China

BY BBC.COM - Aug 28, 2019 at 4:15am 100

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US retailer Costco was forced to close early on its opening day in China, after the store was swamped with shoppers.

Buyers battled long queues and traffic chaos, before the Shanghai store was shut hours early due to "overcrowding".

Costco's push into China comes as other foreign retailers have struggled to compete with local rivals.

It also comes at a time of rising tensions between the US and China over trade.

Costco is a discount warehouse store that sells a range of goods from fresh foods to household electronics.

Some customers spent two hours lining up to pay for their purchases, while some had to wait three hours for parking, state news agency Xinhua reported.

One video on social media appeared to show crowds of people fighting over raw pieces of meat at the butcher counter.

"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 retailer in a notice on its official app, according to AFP.

The firm's first store in China comes as other international retailers battle tough competition in the country.

Earlier this year, Amazon said it was downsizing its operations in China and France's Carrefour agreed to sell 80% of its China business to local retailer after a series of losses.

Tesco has historically struggled to crack the Chinese market.

Costco's China move also comes at a difficult time for US-China relations.

The world's two largest economies have been fighting a trade war for the past year, and tensions have escalated with the threat of more tariffs from both sides.