American giant opens first store in France

costco sign
American giant Costco has opened the first of 15 stores it plans to operate in France by 2025

'More than 16,000' sign up to benefit from bulk-buying price cuts before Essonne warehouse opens for business

American retail giant Costco has opened its first warehouse-sized store in France, and has unveiled plans to open another 14 across the country by 2025. 

The second-largest retailer in the world, after fellow US operation Walmart, made its first foray into l'hexagone in Villebon-Sur-Yvette, Essonne, where the country's first Costco opened on Thursday. 

Individual customers who wish to shop at the store must pay an annual 'membership' fee of around €36 - which then allows them to buy products in bulk at low prices. The model - halfway between a wholesale store and a supermarket - is hugely popular. It has been reported that Costco has more than 85million members worldwide. 

More than 16,000 people had signed up for the new Essonne store before it opened, Le Parisien reports, and managers expected to have more than 50,000 members by the end of the year.

The company now operates more than 730 warehouse units globally, with 510 in the USA and Puerto Rico, 95 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the UK, 25 in Japan, 13 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, eight in Australia, two in Spain and one in Iceland. 

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