Leaders Forum: Eddy Nader, Managing Director, NPG Retail

As part of the 2023 C&I Industry Leaders Forum, Eddy Nader, Managing Director, NPG Retail, talks about how the convenience channel is evolving into a little bit of everything all rolled into one.

C&I: What have been the highlights for NPG Retail over the past 12 months?

Nader: We took over an old Ampol site in Albion Park Rail in December last year. It’s rundown, so we’ll knock that over and hopefully in 12 to 18 months we’ll have a site that we’ll run there that is different to anything we’ve ever done before. It’s going to be a concept to more suit the semi-regional area.

C&I: What will be your main priorities for the remainder of 2023?

Nader: Electricity and staff have been the two biggest issues for us over the past year. You have to start looking at where you can save, from the amount of refrigeration you have installed, the number of lights you have.

We’ve had to up the cleaning schedule of our solar panels from yearly to every six months, because as dust gets on the panels, the less effective they are. So now we’re cleaning them twice a year which is another cost, but the cost of cleaning the panels counteracts the amount of electricity you’re generating.

The cost of doing business in general has gone up. Our costs are going up and we need to work on higher margins to cover the costs. The suppliers’ costs are going up and they’re putting the costs on us but expecting us to work on the same margins. I think it’s a really tough time to do business.

C&I: What are the most important topics the industry should be discussing in 2023?

Nader: The cost of doing business I think is the biggest one. The cost to open your doors has skyrocketed, and the more our costs go up, the more our prices will need to go up and with the cost of living the way it is, where do you draw the line?

C&I: What does your crystal ball tell you about the future of convenience in Australia?

Nader: The crystal ball says we’re going to be part convenience store, part QSR, and part coffee shop. We’re going to be a little bit of everything all rolled into one. That’s why people at the moment are paying big dollars for convenience stores and service stations because we can be whatever we want. We are who we want to be. It’s not being dictated to us by the outside. We’re dictating what we want to be. It’s basically up to us.

This article originally appeared in the June/July issue of Convenience & Impulse Retailing magazine, which is available online here.

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