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The New York Times this morning reports that Costco has secured site approvals for its first Australian store, in what is called Docklands, in inner city Melbourne. As the Times notes, Costco has been seeking sites for more than a year as it looks to challenge the dominant grocery chains in Australia, Woolworths and Coles, which are seen as having a virtual lock on real estate deals there.

The Times reports that Woolworths and Coles are facing a government investigation into pricing and competition issues. And, the paper notes that “two other international grocers, privately owned Aldi and Franklins, owned by South Africa's Pick 'n Pay Stores Ltd, said they have been blocked from gaining access to new shopping centre sites because of landlord agreements with the big two players that discourage rivals from existing malls.”

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