Tuesday, June 18, 2024

NZ grocers vote for historic merger

Members of New Zealand’s Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island co-ops have overwhelmingly voted in support of a merger. The merger, subject to Commerce Commission and High Court approval, will create a national co-op that is hoped to deliver meaningful benefits for customers, members, teams, suppliers and communities.

CEO-designate of the proposed national Foodstuffs co-op Chris Quin welcomed the result, which is a major milestone in the merger process.

“This is a great day for our co-ops,” he said. “New Zealanders want us to deliver more value and innovation. We’re up for this, and as one national co-op, we can do this faster and better.”

The two co-ops already share strong values and trusted brands, including PAK’nSAVE, New World, Four Square, and its own brand, Pams as well as Raeward Fresh and On the Spot in the South Island. The co-ops also have wholesale brands in Gilmours (North Island) and Trents (South Island).

National strength

Mr Quin says the merger would change how the co-ops are governed and stores are supported – reducing the complexity, duplication, and cost of running two co-ops.

“We have to challenge every aspect of our business model to be as efficient as we can, because our number one job is delivering great prices at the checkout,” he said. “It’s the right time after the significant changes over the past four years to make sure we’re doing the best for New Zealanders.”

Importantly for customers, the merger won’t change the number of stores, distribution centres, their local grocer owners, Foodstuff’s trusted brands, or the fact its 500+ stores are 100% proudly New Zealand owned.

“That’s a great thing for New Zealand as too few of our key industries remain New Zealand owned, and we’re up against Australasian and global competitors,” Mr Quin said

“We welcome competition and hope the New Zealand business environment enables more, but let’s not lose sight of the importance of a strong, well run, wholly New Zealand-owned and operated co-operative in the mix and what that means for our communities, country and economy.”

Support for ambitious growth

Chair-designate Russell McKenzie, who’s a Christchurch supermarket owner-operator himself, says getting members’ support is significant.

“The merger is driven by an ambitious goal for the future – to become the best grocery co-op in the world, owned by the best local grocery retailers and wholesalers, delivering the best experience and value to New Zealanders,” he said. “We’re confident we can achieve that together.”

“Our Members strongly support that goal, and agree that a merger is the best way we can keep serving our local communities for decades to come,” Mr McKenzie said.

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