Supermarkets and retailers in general on Grand Cayman are currently feeling pressure from two sides.
Allied to the price hike in shipping charges announced recently, companies such as Hurleys, Fosters and Kirks, among others, are now faced with the introduction of another cut-price store in the shape of the US-based Cost-U-Less outfit.
Following in the footsteps of Priced Right, situated by Foster’s Food Fair at the airport, bulk buying at bargain prices will be the watchword for the new Cost-U-Less store planned for George Town.
Cost-U-Less has been granted approval from the Cayman Islands Trade and Business Licensing Board to operate a retail and wholesale business through a controlled subsidiary organised in the Cayman Islands.
The Bellevue, Washington State-based Cost-U-Less company continues to negotiate a shareholders agreement with the proposed minority owners of the new company, as well as a lease for the new store.
Other building and operational permits and approvals have yet to be applied for and obtained.
Once this is done the company anticipates the new store would be up and running within 12-18 months.
The store will occupy an area of 35,000 to 38,000 square feet and could provide employment for between 50 to 100 local people.
Several sites have been looked at in Grand Cayman, but the likelihood is that the store will be situated in or around the George Town area,,
Cost-U-Less will cater for the public and small to medium-sized retail businesses who are interested in buying in bulk at discount prices.
It will sell not only groceries, but other products ranging from office equipment through home goods, clothing, luggage and toys.
The company builds its business through delivering high-quality goods, progressive merchandising practices, sophisticated distribution capabilities and superior customer service, primarily to island markets.
Families and businesses will be most suited to the new development which will concentrate on selling packs of its products to customers rather than individual items.
Martin Moore of Cost-U-Less said: ‘We will bring in one of our experienced managers to run the store.
‘He or she will do the hiring for the rest of the management staff, including departmental heads. All other employees will be locals and we anticipate there being between 50-100 jobs available.
‘We are in the grocery business, but we are also a warehouse club so we concentrate on larger sizes and multi-packs giving value for money for bulk purchases.
‘We model ourselves on the Costco stores that currently operate in the United States and Britain.’
Costco provides quality goods, usually in bulk, at low prices,
‘We have been examining the Cayman Islands market for a number of years and are delighted to make this announcement,’ said J Jeffrey Meder, Cost-U-Less’s President and CEO.
‘Obtaining this license has been a difficult and time-consuming exercise. We believe this market exhibits superior criteria that have led to the success of our business model in other Caribbean Islands.’
Cost-U-Less currently operates 11 stores in the Caribbean and Pacific region with two in the US Virgin Islands, Netherlands Antilles, the Hawaiian Islands and Guam.
They also have stores in California, American Samoa and the Republic of Fiji.
Additional information about Cost-U-Less is available at www.costuless.com.