Roof going on $100m+ Costco Wholesale, jobs open, world’s 2nd-largest retailer opens 2022

The roof is going on the first New Zealand building for the world’s second-largest retailer,jobs are advertised, the website launched and Kiwis will next year be able to shop at the store which prices goods 25 to 30 per cent cheaper than elsewhere.

The three-level $100 million-plus Costco Wholesale Auckland Warehouse is now partly enclosed in the Haydn + Rollett project at Westgate.

The business employs 275,000 staff worldwide and has 100 million members.

It is now telling Kiwis to view job opportunities in retail management, membership marketing, and assistant general management.

Job hunters can email [email protected].co.nz or visit costco.co.nz

The membership-based retailer is due to open its first New Zealand store in next year’s first half.

Last October, Patrick Noone, Costco Australia and New Zealand managing director, told about 300 Property Council members in Auckland that 2022’s first half was the target opening date.

“As our business is based on our warehouse operations, merchandising is our lifeblood. Most employees begin their careers in the warehouse setting, becoming experts in Costco merchandising and operations. We also offer diverse career opportunities at our home office in areas like accounting, buying, marketing, information systems and human resources,” the retailer’s New Zealand website says under careers.

Costco Wholesale’s latest report says its warehouse stores sell:

• Food and sundries including dry foods, packaged foods, groceries, snack foods, confectionery, beverages, and cleaning supplies;

• Hardlines including major appliances, electronics, health and beauty aids, hardware, and garden and patio furniture;

• Fresh Foods including meat, produce, deli, and bakery items;

• Softlines including apparel and small appliances;

• Ancillary products including fuel and pharmacy items, glasses, hearing aids.

Work is progressing at 2 Gunton Dr on the city’s northwestern outskirts.

The 14,740sq m store won resource consent from Auckland Council last year.

One construction expert said the design of the building is a lightweight steel-framed post and beam structure with tray deck intermediate flooring.

“That is a steel permanent formwork structure with a concrete topping.

“This type of construction creates large open areas inside the building to maximise the use of the area. That is opposed to a diaphragm structure which comprises large concrete shear walls,” the manager said.

“Isolated foundations support the steel structure, which is now up to level three, enabling the building to be constructed vertically while drainage can be developed at ground level. The ground floor slab hasn’t been poured yet. This is a good way to build as it opens up multiple work faces,” he said.

DH Steel Construction is the structural steel subcontractor employed by the main contractor, the manager said.

Internal stud heights in the new building are particularly high on the ground floor to give a more spacious feel and a sense of volume.

Goods at Costco stores are stacked on the pallets they are delivered on to reduce overheads.

The business is famous for selling everything from giant teddy bears to coffins.

Exactly how much New Zealanders will be asked to pay for annual memberships is yet to be announced but Australian memberships start from A$55/annum.

Costco’s annual report for the year to August 30, 2020, showed it had 803 locations. President and chief executive Craig Jelinek told of net sales of US$163 billion, up 9 per cent. Net income was US$4b, also up 9 per cent.

“The company surpassed 100 million members worldwide, contribution to membership revenue of US$3.54b,” he said.

The Kirkland Signature brand had global sales of US$52b, up 7 per cent.

“Costco also made two important investments this year – the acquisition of Innovel, now known as Costco Wholesale Logistics or CWL, and a minority interest in Navitus,” he said.

CWL is a logistics supplier for big and bulky items like appliances, furniture, and exercise equipment.

Navitus is a pharmacy benefit manager and its purchase “will help us lower the health care spend for patients at our pharmacies, optical and hearing aid departments,” Jelinek said.

Costco has 558 United States stores, 102 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 27 in Japan, 16 in Korea, 14 in Taiwan, 12 in Australia, three in Spain and one each in Iceland, China and France.

Its average warehouse space is 13,500sq m, with newer stores slightly larger, its report says, although the number is expressed in square feet as is the US norm.

Warehouses on average operate on a seven-day, 70-hour week but their fuel operations are open longer.

In the annual report’s foreword from December 10, 2020, Jelinek wrote how the pandemic had affected the retailer.

“Costco was designated as an essential business, a responsibility we took seriously. In a time of uncertainty and panic purchasing by members, we went all out to try to maintain adequate supplies of necessities, including food, cleaning products, and personal care items.

“We targeted our efforts on these in-demand goods, installed protective barriers at the registers, increased our sanitation at high-touch areas, established social distancing protocols and face-covering policies, created special operating hours for high-risk individuals and first responders and donated surgical masks to healthcare workers,” Jelinek said.

New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office granted Costco Wholesale New Zealand consent to buy the land from an entity owned by New Zealand Retail Property Group, controlled by founder Mark Gunton.

Costco Wholesale New Zealand’s directors are the global president Walter Craig Jelinek of Seattle, executive vice-president of the international division James Patrick Murphy of Tacoma in Washington and the Australian-based Patrick John Noone of Paddington, Sydney.

The company was registered in August 2018 and is owned by Costco Wholesale International of the United States.

Lawyers are Bell Gully of Wellington and its offices at 171 Featherston St in Wellington are the company’s registered offices.

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