There were winners and more winners at Tasmanian Independent Retailers’ annual expo and conference.
David Burton reports from Hobart.
Tasmanian Independent Retailers (TIR) held its annual expo and conference in mid-June. There were a number of new products on show and new exhibitors. This year the TIR retail awards followed the theme of mainland states where awards are also made for best departments as well as best store in each channel.
A highlight of the expo layout was fresh and the produce and deli department was set up by TIR in conjunction with equipment and fresh suppliers. Here, refrigerated and ambient cabinets were filled with deli lines, including attractive display trays.
The TIR team’s initiative was designed to showcase how independents can improve their offer and entice more custom to their stores. Refrigeration companies all had expo special deals.
Gala dinner honours more retailers
TIR CEO Grant Hinchcliffe, GM Retail Operations and Development Craig Smith and TIR board Chairman Peter Aulich were at hand as recipients came to the stage receive their recognition.
TIR/IGA Retailer Awards for 2015 include:
• SUPA IGA Retailer of the Year – SUPA IGA Longford.
• IGA Everyday Retailer of the Year – IGA Everyday St Helens (Hilly’s).
• IGA X-press Retailer of the Year – IGA X-press Lauderdale.
• Sam Richardson Perpetual Award – IGA Everyday Youngtown.
• IGA X-press Overall Grocery Department of the Year – IGA X-press Lauderdale (Hill Street Grocer).
• IGA Everyday Dairy/Freezer Department of the Year – IGA Everyday St Helens (Hilly’s).
• SUPA IGA Dairy/Freezer Department of the Year – SUPA IGA Longford.
• IGA Everyday Grocery Department of the Year – IGA Everyday Bridport.
• SUPA IGA Grocery Department of the Year – SUPA IGA Prospect.
• IGA X-press Fresh Department of the Year- IGA X-press New Town.
• IGA Everyday Produce Department of the Year – IGA Everyday Norwood.
• SUPA IGA Produce Department of the Year – SUPA IGA Longford.
• IGA Everyday Meat Department of the Year – IGA Everyday St Helens (Hilly ’s).
• SUPA IGA Meat Department of the Year – SUPA IGA St Helens.
• IGA Everyday Delicatessen Department of the Year – IGA Everyday St Helens (Hilly’s).
• SUPA IGA Delicatessen Department of the Year – SUPA IGA Longford.
Competing for the consumer dollar
Addressing retailers, suppliers and guests at the business breakfast, Mr Hinchcliffe reflected on the financial year that was almost complete at the time. He said that trading conditions remained tight and, in many respects, similar to last year. In spite of that, official retail trade numbers for Tasmania are showing positive movement, which in part is being supported by an underlying trend of greater confidence by both the consumer and business sectors.
Population growth is an issue in Tasmania and Mr Hinchcliffe pointed out that the state has a land mass the size of Victoria, yet has a significantly smaller and much more decentralised population of just 500,000, or the equivalent of one or two of Melbourne’s suburbs.
While TIR’s IGA retailers would benefit from any future increase in the Tasmanian consumer base, Mr Hinchcliffe told the audience that TIR was on track to record sales in excess of $252 million to June 30. This is an increase of 7.68 per cent over the prior year: a strong performance once again.
Mr Hinchcliffe also noted that investment from IGA retailers might have been expected to taper off after a period of considerable spend on store refurbishment, greenfield and brownfield development some two to three years ago. This, alone with the compelling fresh offer from Tasmanian IGA retailers, will continue to hold the group in good stead.
The increasing use of digital campaigns in conjunction with traditional catalogue advertising has benefited all three channels of IGA.
TIR is committed to a strategy of having Tasmanian IGA retailers participate in the national Price Match program. This initiative is designed to ensure they are competitive with the chains on a wide range of key lines. The Tasmanian strategy will be communicated in the near future, once finalised.
Mr Hinchcliffe also pointed out that the IGA item and price promotional message is much stronger than it had been under the previous IGA channel structure, especially since the introduction of savings percentages as well as dollars in promotional advertising.
Expo brings the trade together
Retailers again took advantage of expo deals this year, and there were new lines to be considered. Competition was fierce for the five traditional supplier awards. The new award this year was for longevity in supporting the expo over its 20-year lifespan.
Supplier winners include:
• Longevity: Strategic National.
• Most creative equipment: Display Industries.
• Overall equipment services: Ausmart International.
• Best multi-booth: Kimberley-Clark.
• Best single booth: SunRice Australia.
• Best overall display booth: Imperial Tobacco.
SunRice Australia, which took out the best single booth award, took a different approach this year. Last year its booth was the standard single booth space, which looks the same as many others.
This year, according to SunRice National Sales Manager Stephen Borg, a custom built display using the same dimensions of expo space resulted in a highly noticeable, award-winning stand.
Mr Borg said that he took a decision not to display rice on the stand, saying, “The retailers know we have rice, so we used the opportunity to showcase our value-added lines”.
TIR is committed to a strategy of having Tasmanian IGA retailers participate in the national Price Match program.