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Customer Fights Break Out as Costco Opens First China Store

Customer Fights Break Out as Costco Opens First China Store :- Costco Wholesale Corp.’s first outlet in China has opened on Tuesday and was soon overrun with customers willing to fight over discounted products and wait hours to pay for their purchases.

Customer Fights Break Out as Costco Opens First China Store

In view of this, the American retail giant had to suspend operations in its Shanghai store in the afternoon citing “heavy traffic and customer flows,” according to a text message sent by the company to consumers holding its membership card. The message was shared on Weibo, China’s micro-blogging website as well.

The frenzy at Costco’s store comes at a time when the U.S. and China are locked in a tit-for-tat tariff war that shows no signs of abating and is making American firms wary of investing in the largest Asian economy. Costco is also entering a market where many of its global rivals have struggled and given up. Earlier, Carrefour SA sold an 80% stake in its China unit at a discount in June while German wholesaler Metro AG is still looking to sell its operations.

Meanwhile, Costco’s shares rose 5% to a record high in the U.S. on Tuesday, while the broader gauge S&P 500 declined. The stock has climbed 44% this year.

A Weibo user, who gave up on the shopping plan after seeing two-hour queues at the checkout counters said, “There’s no other word to describe Shanghai’s Costco but crazy.” Other Weibo users shared their story of waiting three hours to enter the parking lot while some decided to walk to the store to avoid the traffic jam.

According to the local news reports, the retailer offered discounts as deep as 60% on some products and annual membership for just 199 yuan ($28). The sale also includes the nation’s coveted fiery liquor drink from Kweichow Moutai Co. and Wuliangye Yibin Co.

Meanwhile, Costco was unavailable to answer phone calls and an online inquiry seeking comments on Tuesday’s shopping frenzy.