Popular US retail giant Costco opened its first bricks and mortar store in Shanghai China on Tuesday morning and the crowds were so large that the store had to close just hours after opening its doors.
"The store has been clogged up with crowds," Costco said in a text message alert to its members in China. "To provide you with better shopping experience, Costco will suspend business in the afternoon. Please don't come."
To restore order and manage traffic jams around the store, police were called in to urge people to remain calm.
"For your safety, we hope citizens who want to go to Costco can maintain a rational attitude for consumption and avoid going out during rush hours. Those who have already gone there, you must follow orders," the Shanghai police said in a statement on its verified account on Chinese social network Weibo.
Shelves of product were cleared out within an hour of opening and
The parking lot even had a wait time of three hours to get a park. According to customers, the surrounding roads were blocked and highways congested.
The company issued an apology the following day to its customers.
"We'd like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to our members on our warehouse opening day in Shanghai. Due to security concerns, we decided to close the warehouse early. Our most important concern is the safety and good experience of our members."
Going forward the store will have traffic controls in place to limit the number of members in the warehouse to 2,000 people. Local police will assist in improving traffic in the area in order to lessen the disturbance to neighbouring retailers and it has improved its internal guest flow system.