Andrew Poore has been appointed as General Manager Sales for Australia and New Zealand at Pacific Optics and will relocate to Australia to take up the role.

The General Manager Sales role was previously held by Theo Foukkare for more than 17 years until he was appointed as the new CEO of the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS).

Poore has a long history with Pacific Optics, dating back to 2005. Most recently he was working as the General Manager of Signature Marketing NZ, which is the New Zealand based sister company to Pacific Optics.

In his new Trans-Tasman role, he will continue to lead the New Zealand business while residing in Australia and leading the Australian National Accounts team.

Pre-Covid, in his role as the General Manager of the NZ business, Poore was spending around one week out of every month in Australia, so he is already very familiar with the Australian market. But he is looking forward to getting out and meeting customers once he has relocated.

“For me, the priority is always customer, customer, customer. And figuring out what we can do to improve our customer satisfaction and in turn help them to be more successful,” Poore told C&I.

“It’s about getting back to basics and truly understanding what our customer is looking for – because every customer and their business is different.

“If we look back 20 years ago, you’d go into a service station and buy a cold drink and a chocolate. Today, service stations can range from very upmarket cafes to an automotive supplier. The channel is very varied, and it differs state by state as well. So, I’m really looking forward to bringing the focus onto each individual customer and really understanding their needs. Because our customers are our partners, and without our trade partners, what are we doing it for?”

C&I asked Poore what he enjoys most about the convenience industry, and he said it is the challenge of staying ahead of an ever-changing market.

“Every business evolves, but the convenience industry is still very much reactionary,” he said. “Particularly with our portfolio, such as our technology products. Technology evolves at such a rapid pace that we need to make sure that we’re getting all our products to market at exactly the right time for our customers. It’s the same with our sunglasses, which are constantly changing with styles, colours and lens variations.

“In general, the convenience industry is continually changing and I’m loving the direction that it’s going. Service stations are now so much more than just somewhere to grab a pie and a drink!

“Take home and delivery services will continue to grow rapidly. Our general merchandise products should be part of this grocery top up basket, particularly as we see more people working from home.”

When it comes to challenges facing the channel, Poore says that the greatest test is to continue growing the convenience retail opportunity.

“We have benefitted from converting grocery shoppers into more regular convenience shoppers. So, the next challenge is to grow the size of that opportunity,” he says.

“The transition from being seen as a service station with a convenience offer to now being seen as a true convenience retail destination, is the greatest opportunity – and one that we are here to help our customers with.”

Poore officially started as General Manager Sales for Australia and New Zealand on 1 October and will relocate as soon as borders reopen.

“Building strong customer relationships is my passion and has been pivotal to the success of our NZ business. I hope to be able to inspire my new team at Pacific Optics Australia to share in that passion, and that together we can continue to build strong and successful partnerships with our customers.”

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