2015 Year in review

January

  • Coles to pay $10 million in penalties for unconscionable conduct.
  • Woolworths faces heat over supplier relations.
  • Consumer sentiment plunges.
  • CCA restructure – up to 260 jobs to go.
  • Technology retailers reinvigorate the in-store experience.
  • Metcash transformation builds slowly.
  • Adelaide welcomes Australia’s seventh Costco.
  • Foodland SA business conference and supplier awards.

“Coles crossed the line and, regrettably, treated these suppliers in a manner inconsistent with acceptable business practice.”
Coles MD John Durkan.

February

  • Ernest Hillier in voluntary administration.
  • Japan-Australia free-trade agreement comes into force.
  • Tomato-growing business (Moraitis) to change hands (Perfection Fresh Australia).
  • Reduced certification time to boost organic industry.
  • Woolworths and Wesfarmers remain among top 25 global retailers.
  • Growth of dark supermarkets anticipated.
  • Ian McLeod to leave Wesfarmers.
  • Retailers welcome long- awaited interest rate cut.
  • Low inflation and fuel costs to boost retail spending.
  • SMEs uncertain as stuttering economy set to continue in 2015.
  • Abbott promises support for small business.
  • Betta Foods in administration.
  • ALDI continues to outpace rivals.
  • The Ian McLeod legacy.

“I would like to thank Richard Goyder and the Wesfarmers board for putting their faith in me to lead the Coles turnaround. At the time of the acquisition, there were many who doubted such a turnaround would be possible, and the challenges have indeed been great.” – Former Wesfarmers commercial director Ian McLeod.

March

  • New rights for food and grocery suppliers.
  • Woolworths leadership changes.
  • Woolworths to reinvent the way Aussies shop with new eBay partnership.
  • NSW Government moves to tackle Boxing Day trading laws.
  • Lion to sell everyday cheese business.
  • Leadership changes at Frucor.
  • Wesfarmers half-year sales near $32 billion.
  • Woolworths resets supermarkets for the future.
  • Kogan Pantry ups the ante in online grocery.
  • POPAI announces new GM.

“The Food and Grocery Code establishes a clear set of principles relating to key aspects of trading relationships between retailers and suppliers and will provide greater certainty and clarity about dealings in the industry without adding unnecessary complexity or cost.”

Australian Food and Grocery council CEO Gary Dawson.

April

  • Competition policy review final report released.
  • Consumers perceive a lack of healthy competition.
  • ALDI one step closer to entering SA.
  • Metcash supermarkets chief steps down.
  • Big two (Woolworths and Wesfarmers) among Australia’s top companies.
  • Changes to SA penalty rates.
  • Heinz and Kraft merger announced.
  • Menora Foods to join Monde Nissin.
  • New CEO for Goodman Fielder as Wilmar takes charge.
  • MGA presents new consumer research on attitudes to competition law, government and the ACCC.
  • SPAR Maclean completes major renovations.
  • SPAR extends international store network.
  • The Reject Shop is re- ranging for growth.

“The ACCC supports proposals to make the misuse-of-market-power provision workable, to introduce a prohibition on concerted practices [to tackle cartel-like conduct that may otherwise be permitted] and to improve merger assessment processes.” – ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.

May

  • Coles and Bunnings star performers for Wesfarmers.
  • Woolworths Ltd outlines three-year growth strategy.
  • RBA drops interest rate to historic low.
  • Coles to pay $2.5 million for misleading bread promotion.
  • Frozen berries back on market after vigorous testing.
  • IGA Walkerville closes due to competition.
  • ALDI Australia launches concept stores.

“We place the customers at the centre of everything we do and have updated our operating model to reflect evolving customer expectations.” – Outgoing Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien.

 

June

  • National minimum wage increase a concern for retail.
  • Small business big winner in federal budget.
  • NRA talks to Brisbane Council on proposed trading hours.
  • Retail trade figures remain unchanged.
  • Choice releases supermarket price comparison survey.
  • Metcash announces $640 million write-down.
  • ALDI begins SA recruitment drive.
  • Coles to focus on home brand.
  • Woolworths to launch mobile service.
  • Price war looms with collateral damage to independents.

“While we are making progress with the group’s strategic priorities, the food and grocery pillar is operating in an increasingly competitive environment.” – Metcash CEO Ian Morrice.

 

July

  • Coles refunds more than $12 million to suppliers.
  • Poor supplier relationships impact badly on Australian businesses.
  • Search for new CEO leaves Woolworths in a period of uncertainty.
  • The ALDI effect: Australia’s changing supermarket scene.
  • ACCC requires Coles to divest development site in WA.
  • Autobarn sale allows better focus at Metcash.
  • Daly’s SUPA IGA on the world stage.
  • The future of competition.

“We expect to see Aussie supermarkets focusing more on customers than ever – understanding who they are, what their needs and drives are, and how to communicate with them and engage their loyalty.” – Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine.

August

  • COAG to pursue reform of GST
  • Government plans ‘Australianness’ food- labelling scheme.
  • Fuel and groceries among top cost-of-living pressures.
  • Wholesalers pressured by supermarket dominance.
  • Coles’ Sarah Hughes takes out Joe Berry Award.
  • Global expansion drives SPAR International retail sales.
  • Coles on top in origin battle
  • ALDI on track for SA with new hires underway.
  • ALDI defends tax record.
  • Metcash leads independents to retailing excellence.

“The new system will help consumers make informed choices based on
the ‘Australianness’ of produce.” – Australian Made Campaign CEO Ian Harrison.

 

September

  • Coles’ 5.3 per cent sales growth.
  • Wesfarmers management restructure.
  • ALDI seeks DC and transport hires in SA.
  • ALDI confirms Golden Grove site as it continues SA expansion.
  • SPAR Redfern opens in Sydney.
  • Bill to remove penalty rates.
  • Imperfect Picks a success for Harris Farm Markets.
  • Victorian retailers dismayed at public holiday decision.
  • Calls for clearer labelling of added sugars.
  • Competition policy campaign reaching key figures.
  • Australia trailing in global online grocery trends.
  • Another successful expo and retailer awards for TIR.

“Many businesses report it’s not worth opening on weekends because of penalty rates… Our bill will give workers greater choice about when they want to work, and employers will still be allowed to offer penalty rates if they so wish.” – Family First Senator Bob Day.

October

  • Metcash briefs investors on transformation progress.
  • 7-Eleven in damage control.
  • Construction of ALDI ramps up at Halls Head Central (WA).
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership to boost food sector.
  • BCA calls on cabinet to reject proposed changes to competition policy.
  • Sydney embraces the return of Fine Food Australia.
  • Former Metcash chief: there are always ways to counter ALDI.
  • Wesfarmers retail winning the battle for consumers.
  • SPAR showcases new products and simple retail at trade show.
  • Turning to a new PM for the right effect.

“Value is about a lot more than just the price of your groceries. Value
is about your total proposition, and the independents need to get that very clear in the marketplace and then drive that message consistently across all of Australia.” – Former Metcash COO silvestro Morabito.

November

  • Woolworths flags longer term for sales improvements.
  • AFGC CHEP Retail Index indicates potential slowdown.
  • ACCC working to ensure a successful Food and Grocery Code.
  • Food and beverage exports thriving.
  • Blackmores teams with Bega.
  • ‘Walmart’ model driving competition and change.
  • No end in sight to Wesfarmers retail growth.
  • The Reject Shop’s new format for future growth.
  • SPAR Australia MD talks independent retail.

“The competitive environment and the changing retail offer are proving to be increasingly challenging and, although difficult, create opportunities.” – SPAR Australia MD Lou Jardin.

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