The Australian Roadshow: Tassie retailers trump challenges

As an island state, Tasmania faces unique challenges in terms of retailing.

Perhaps the most significant of these are the transport costs associated with bringing product from the mainland, which requires a high degree of management in ordering disciplines and logistics to ensure continuity of supply.

Fortunately, the state also has vast horticulture, meat and seafood resources, and a community keen to buy local, so not all categories are affected.

Tasmanian Independent Retailers (TIR) CEO Grant Hinchcliffe says members of the IGA network in Tasmania are strongly motivated and focused on supporting local suppliers and producers.

“We believe in this principle as local communities and business support us,” he says.

“Hence, we should provide mutual support wherever possible, be it with local producers or supporting local community events.”

Retailers regularly support local suppliers with ‘Tasmanian Sourced’ features within catalogues and multimedia advertising. Some retailers have set up Tasmania product departments in-store.

“In fact, we have one retailer who set up a separate ‘Tasmania Shop’ next door to their supermarket, which only stocks locally manufactured products,” Mr Hinchcliffe says.

TIR has well-established relationships with large and small Tasmanian suppliers, including Cripps Bakery, Pandani Smallgoods and Ashgrove Cheese.

“In Tasmania, we’re often referred to as the quality food bowl of the Australian market,” Mr Hinchcliffe said.

“I expect our customer base to continue embracing local product, as evidence suggests the last 12 months was a catalyst to trying new tastes and supporting local communities.”

Despite Covid-related challenges, Mr Hinchcliffe says the past 12 months have delivered record growth in TIR member investment in their stores via refurbishments, expansion and new equipment installations.

“With the high level of confidence from within our member network, coupled with the strength of the Tasmanian economy and our members’ willingness to keep improving their business and offer, TIR feels that such investment will continue well into the future.”

Read more on the Tasmanian market in The Australian Roadshow feature in the latest Retail World July issue.