Wesfarmers to create new supermarket chain

Wesfarmers is reportedly creating a new discount supermarket chain to replace the Coles Group’s Bi-Lo supermarkets, reports The West Australian.

Coles chief Ian McLeod told analysts last week that the new concept would be tested in pilot stores in Melbourne before being introduced nationally and could be bedded down by the end of the financial year.

Coles, which was acquired by West Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers last year, tried to phase out the Bi-Lo chain in 2006 by converting Bi-Lo stores to Coles stores. The move was a disaster, and alienated budget-conscious shoppers.

Retail analyst Rob Lake says the move to build a new discount chain “makes a lot of sense”.

“They left a hole in the market that was taken up by Aldi and IGA elsewhere, and that’s a mixture of the bargain supermarket shopper and people who like cheap goods,” he says.

“It absolutely makes sense. They made a mistake in closing them down.”

The new discount chain is part of several trials at Coles supermarkets, including testing to see if consumers accept a cut of about 30% in the product range, meaning fewer brands will be stocked within each product category.

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One Response

  1. So I guess if you are offering a smaller range of product to the customer that would mean less staff for you to employ?

    The Bi Lo I am currently working at the moment is short staffed even though the store is making really good profits. I think its disgusting how its up to the store to depend on sales to determine how many people they can employ. It is so stressfull at the moment and yes I realize that its coming up to christmas but it really sucks when you have 8 people waiting to be served at the deli and you are the only one behind the counter. (This wasn’t me but someone who worked on a sunday) I’ve even had times when I do a full shift say 12noon till 9pm entitling me to a one hour break and two 15 minute breaks and only having one 15 minute break in that time. The store manager has sorted this out but its crazy that your pretty much left on your own and do the whole clean up, serve, slice, rotate stock, cook chickens etc etc. It can be pretty daunting. The checkouts have a full on time as well continually calling for ‘priority one service’ taking away people from other areas to serve-because the staff weren’t there. But like I said we have a top store manager who is doing the best with what he has and what he is Allowed to have. Another gripe I have is with the regional manager-we are encouraged to smile at the customer make eye contact and be helpful. Our regional manager has yet to smile and make eye contact with me (remember he should be setting the example) ie acknowledge my existence even if he is checking out the deli case and I am behind it. But I guess at the end of the day we are the shit kickers and as long as the shareholders and ceos get their little bonus at the end of the day they don’t give a rats about the health or the physical well being of the staff. You encourage us to make the customer have an enjoyable shopping experience so that they come back. What are you doing for us to make our ‘experience’ working at Bi Lo an enjoyable one.

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