Australia’s oldest and largest supermarket group, Ritchies, has confirmed that over the next 12 months it will rebrand its 13 Fishers stores in Victoria.

Ritchies acquired the Fishers stores from Alan Fisher in 2015 and they’ve remained operating under the Fishers banner since that time. But as we head into 2021 and for the next two years, Ritchies plans to invest heavily into store refurbishments and upgrades, and a part of that will include the Fishers stores taking on the Ritchies banner.

Ritchies is celebrating its 150th year in 2020, and James Cameron, National Advertising and Promotions Manager at Ritchies, told C&I that the year has been one of resilience.

“Like everyone, 2020 has been a very difficult year. We are fortunate to be one of the few businesses that has grown sales during the year and this has not come without its challenges,” he said.

“We have to be very thankful to the store teams who bore the brunt of panic buying and managing social distancing. I think the things that what people found out about us, is that we are passionate about supporting local communities.

“We have stood the test of time with Ritchies, the oldest and largest independent supermarket and liquor store group in Australia, and celebrating our 150th year this year has been challenging. Running our strongest promotional campaign ever, during the worst pandemic in over 100 years – if nothing else the public has given us a big tick for trust and resilience.”

The group has just relaunched its loyalty program with a target of gaining 200,000 members by the end of 2021. It “launched with a bang” and within the first month already saw 50,000 new members sign up.

In 2017, the system, which had controlled Ritchies old loyalty program, had a hard drive failure, which was unable to be recovered. But the team has worked on a new program that would keep the good parts of the old one while also enhancing the system.

They’ve partnered with an international company called TCC, based in Amsterdam, which has a presence in more than 50 countries around the world and the program they’ve launched is accessible via a mobile app or a physical Ritchies card. It maintains the strong backbone of Ritchies Community Benefit Program, which has raised more than $50 million for various charities since it launched in 1993.

“When Thomas Ritchie set up the first Ritchies store in Frankston in 1870, he offered a penny for every pound to support the local community. Ritchies is very proud to have kept this tradition for over 150 years,” says Cameron.

“The backbone is still the Community Benefit Program, supporting over 5000 clubs, schools and charities as chosen by customers to share a percentage of the customers purchases.”

The new loyalty program is now operating in all Ritchies stores across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The 13 Fishers stores are currently running on a different program, but will transfer across to the new Ritchies platform once the stores have rebranded.

“We have plans in the next two years to invest heavily back into the business with store refurbishments and upgrades. We know this has a positive impact in our local areas.

“The new upgraded loyalty program will give us the opportunity to compete with our best competition from a digital standpoint and from there we can investigate further improvements to our business.”

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