By Claire Reilly
Masters has today opened a new shopfront in Canberra’s Majura Park retail precinct, almost a year to the day after the American big box retailer Costco opened its doors a few hundred metres down the road.
The new store is the 17th site that Masters has opened in Australia, following the opening of warehouses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle. The retailer also expects to open two new Masters stores in Chullora, southern Sydney, and Toowoomba by the end of this year.
Speaking about the new store, Stephen Byron, managing director of Canberra Airport (which owns the Majura Park site) said it was expected to bring more consumers to the eastern Canberra site.
“Interest in the store has been high,” said Byron, adding that the operators expected crowds to gather in size over the weekend. “The other retailers are welcoming it – not just Woolworths but also Costco and others like Toys R Us, Pillowtalk and Trade Secret and especially Jim Murphy Liquor. It will boost all of their trade.
"This completes the Woolworths’ Group’s strategy to take on Costco head to head at Majura Park. It is the first time in Australia that all of their brands are on the one site and lined up against their American rival.
“As well as the Masters store, there is Woolworths’ largest supermarket in Australia, Big W’s first Mark 9 store [a new store format that the retailer has begun rolling out] and Dick Smith,” added Byron. “And despite a tough retail environment, all 34 specialty stores in the [Majura Park] shopping centre are now leased (30 are now open with the balance by the end of August).
“The supermarket has traded strongly and both it and Big W are well ahead of expectations, yet Costco has also seen its trade grow since the opening of the shopping centre and supermarket on 29 March 2012.”
“Interestingly, the ACT Government is just starting the duplication of Majura Road northbound into the precinct – so things are humming along pretty well.”
The new Masters store in Canberra's Majura Park.
An aerial view of the Masters store, taken during construction.