Costco in Cabo severely damaged by storm, looters
Costco says its Cabo San Lucas warehouse could be closed until November to recover from damage by Hurricane Odile and a subsequent wave of looting.
Seattle Times business reporter
Costco Wholesale’s warehouse in Cabo San Lucas will be closed for at least another month as the company deals with damage wrought by Hurricane Odile on Sept. 14 and by looters in the storm’s wake.
The company said in a statement published by the local Mexican press Friday that the hurricane’s winds hit the warehouse with such strength that they tore through the gates and “lifted the roof of a part of our store.”
Later, a group of people “violently” broke into the facility, “stealing, looting and destroying” as they went through the warehouse. Looters not only took away merchandise but also cash registers, computers, weights and printers. They also destroyed the hearing center and the optical store, according to the company.
Costco has been able to reach 80 percent of the 235 people working at that store and “fortunately we haven’t recorded any human loss,” according to the statement.
The warehouse will be operating again “in a few months,” a statement from the company’s Mexico unit said.
Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti confirmed that the store had been vandalized and said a construction crew was there last week assessing the damage and the company’s response.
“Our goal is to reopen by early November,” he said.
This is not the first time the wrath of Pacific storms has hampered Costco’s Mexican operations. Last year a Costco in Acapulco was looted after big floods.
In Cabo, the local media reported looting was widespread at other retailers too, and not limited to necessities such as food and water. Mexico City newspaper La Jornada said that at a local Walmart looters took away TV screens and refrigerators.
The Los Cabos International Airport, also damaged by the hurricane, is expected to be closed to regular passenger flights until Oct. 8.