Costco, an American membership-only wholesale club, on Saturday attracted huge crowds at its new store in Xinzhuang District, New Taipei, although it was not offering free breakfast as is customary when it opens a new outlet in Taiwan.
Instead, Costco was offering its members discounts of up to 50 percent on select products at the new store, a decision it said was aimed at preventing the traffic jams that have occurred in the past when it provided free breakfast at the opening of new stores in Taiwan.
On Saturday, some 500 people had already lined up at the new Xinzhuang outlet about 30 minutes before its scheduled opening at 8:30 a.m. and within half an hour the number had increased to around 3,000.
A man surnamed Tsai, who was first in line to enter the store, said he had been queuing up since 4 a.m. to buy clothing.
Another customer, surnamed Yang, said he got there around 4:30 a.m. and was second in line, waiting to buy certain specialty products.
According to Costco, its parking lot, which can accommodate 650 cars and 220 motorcycles, had filled up within 10 minutes of the store's opening.
Although some 87 Costco staff members were assigned to help people find parking in the area and control the flow of customers into the store, traffic in the area was still congested on Saturday.
Police had to impose traffic control in a bid to ease the congestion and appease residents of the area, who were complaining.
According to police estimates, 21,000 people are expected to visit the new Costco outlet each day this weekend, bringing about 6,700 vehicles into the areas, which would require special traffic control measures.
However, police were urging shoppers to use the shuttle buses that were running between the Costco store and Fu Jen University, Shulin Railway Station, and Xinzhuang and Fuzhong MRT stations.
In April, when Costco opened an outlet in the Taipei suburb of Beitou, its free breakfast offer attracted huge crowds that lined up in front of the store, causing major traffic congestion.
Police were forced to implement special traffic control measures amid complaints from residents in the area.
The Xinzhuang store is Costco's 13th outlet in Taiwan and its fifth in the Taipei and New Taipei area since the wholesale club first entered the country in 1997.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel