Woolworths’ Thomas Dux experiment heads to Victoria

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 13th May 2009

Australia’s largest supermarket chain will continue the rollout of their upmarket Thomas Dux Grocer outlets, after announcing the purchase of up to nine store leases from Macro Wholefoods in NSW and Victoria. The deal also includes the purchase of Macro’s organic private label brand.

Woolworths launched Thomas Dux, an upmarket grocery store, in April last year and currently operates two stores in Sydney –  Paddington and Lane Cove.

The arrangement* will see the eight existing Macro stores re-badged as Thomas Dux, as well as the acquisition of a development site and the Macro organic private label brand.

Existing Macro staff of those stores will be offered roles within Thomas Dux or other Woolworths brands, the retailer advised.

Macro Wholefoods is one of Australia’s leading organic retailers but the sale ensures all their stores will be acquired by Woolies. They had previously outlined plans to expand to 35-40 stores nationwide in coming years and even export the concept to New Zealand and Asia.

Platform for growth

Late last year, Woolworths CEO Michael Luscombe flagged future expansion of Thomas Dux after reaping success in their first foray into the gourmet grocery sector. “We have opened two stores in Sydney so far, both of which are enormously successful and we look forward to expanding that brand over time,” he advised.

Thomas Dux General Manager, Mr Pat McEntee, said today that the Macro Wholefoods acquisition would provide the ideal platform for building the Thomas Dux network.

“Macro Wholefoods sites across Sydney and Melbourne are well positioned in popular locations that are desirable and accessible to our target market,” he explained. “In both Paddington and Lane Cove, our food range and our formats are proving to be popular with the locals and we’ve become part of the community shopping environment.”

The cost of the purchase was not disclosed.

* Expected sites to be acquired, subject to appropriate agreement with landlords: Glen Waverley (VIC), Richmond (VIC), Armadale (VIC), Blackrock (VIC), Port Melbourne (development site – VIC), Bondi Junction (NSW), Crows Nest (NSW), Mona Vale (NSW), Hornsby (NSW).