Costco has confirmed it is aiming to enter the UK, which was exclusively revealed by Forecourttrader.co.uk last week.
The US giant has applied for planning permission to build a petrol filling station (PFS) at its Liverpool site, and Steve Pappas, managing director of Costco UK, told Forecourttrader.co.uk: “Costco sells petrol at many of its warehouses in the US and Canada. If our Liverpool application is approved, this would be our first filling station in the UK and the first outside of North America.”
He added that he would not be discussing Costco’s plans regarding any further petrol filling stations in the UK until the Liverpool application had been determined. The application states that it would be “one of the first Costco PFSs in the UK”.
Meanwhile Forecourttrader.co.uk has also discovered that the Liverpool application is not its first attempt to gain a foothold in the UK market.
In August last year it applied for planning permission for a petrol filling station at its Thurrock site, but permission was refused just two months later on environmental grounds, after intervention by the Environment Agency.
In its refusal notice Thurrock Council said: “The site is located on chalk bedrock which is designated as principal aquifer, and is within a Groundwater Source Protection Zone 3. It is expected that groundwater is located at a relatively shallow depth below ground level. The Environment Agency therefore considers controlled waters at this site to be of high environmental sensitivity.
“Site specific information is still required that adequately demonstrates the underground storage tanks and pipework will not be installed below the water table, taking into account the seasonal variation in the groundwater level. The Environment Agency objects to the proposal on the grounds of insufficient information relating to pollution prevention and groundwater protection.”
Costco, which has a worldwide turnover of $100bn, is a major player in North America with its discount fuel offer.
It has been the US and Canada’s favourite fuel retailer for the past two years, according to US customer intelligence specialist Market Force Information, and last year it announced it would open PFSs at every new depot it opens in Australia.
The company has 25 depots across England, Scotland and Wales, and has stated in the past that it aims to open around 50 sites across the UK.
Individuals and businesses pay for membership and it aims to provide a range of branded and own label products at the lowest price in the market.
The plans in Liverpool are for a fully automated PFS providing 16 fill positions, which would only sell fuel to Costco members.
To go to forecourttrader.co.uk’s exclusive story on Costco’s entry into the UK market click here
For more on Costco’s success in North America click here