Coles looking to capture greater slice of fresh market

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th March 2009

Wesfarmers Managing Director Richard Goyder is looking to address the lack of consumer interest in fresh produce at supermarkets, as less than 50 per cent of their customers purchase fresh produce.

Mr Goyder told the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) convention at the end of last month that he believed their greatest competition actually came from the local greengrocer, deli, fishmonger and butcher rather than other supermarket chains. “Everyone thinks Woolworths is our biggest competitor, but our biggest competitor is right outside our front door,” he said. “In a world where convenience is so important, why is that less than 50 per cent of our customers trust us on fresh produce? That is an issue we need to deal with.”

The boss of the WA-based conglomerate noted that their producers were “very good” but the supply chain was often too long. “We have to sort these systems out,” he explained. “How do we do this? We source better and establish better relationships with our suppliers to get produce into the stores quicker so it is in the customer’s hands at a better quality.”

Mr Goyder suggested they would look at the option of purchasing some goods from local markets in a bid to boost product quality, while also planning to improve the efficiency of their supply chain.

“We want to take advantage of the national scale we have in terms of being able to get that fresh product into our stores, but we also want store managers to go out and buy locally. Whether we can justify doing this across the board will depend on a capacity to supply these products regularly and do it well,” he concluded.