Leaders Forum: Skye Jackson, General Manager Merchandise, Ampol

As part of the 2021 C&I Industry Leaders Forum, Skye Jackson, General Manager Merchandise, Ampol, talks about the award winning Ampol store model and the brand’s continued transition.

C&I: What do you most enjoy about convenience and what is one challenge you’d like to see addressed in the industry?

Jackson: I love how fast paced the industry is, it is certainly never boring! I think one of our biggest challenges is gaining our customers confidence in our ability to fulfill more of their missions, and convincing them that we are a reliable channel for more of their needs. I think we’ve come a long way but that confidence in our ability to serve fresh product, as an example is a work in progress with some of the more discerning customer segments.

C&I: Highlight one achievement at Ampol you’re particularly proud of from over the past 12 months.

Jackson: Winning the Store of the Year awards from AACS is absolutely a highlight. I also think the way the business handled our response to COVID was a great achievement, with teams working well cross-functionally to deal with the changing environment, while continuing to remain focused on the safety of our people and customers.

C&I: What is the focus Ampol in 2021?

Jackson: The transition of the Ampol brand is probably one of the biggest projects we have undertaken, with more than 1,900 sites needing to be rebranded over two years. At the same time, we have plans to open another 20 Ampol Woolworths Metro locations across New South Wales and Victoria, so that’s keeping us pretty busy!

C&I: How do you envision the next six months for convenience?

Jackson: It’s going to be interesting to see how we start to cycle last year’s results as we come out of COVID. I think the question is how many people will go back to their pre-COVID lifestyle and what that will mean for us. I do think the stores who have served their customers well during the past 12 months will retain those customers as we’ve been able to remind people just how convenient our convenience stores are.

C&I: How do you see the retail and food service model through P&C evolving to meet changing consumer needs?

Jackson: Food is absolutely where we are seeing growth. Our focus is on the right range of grab-and-go products and the extension into ready meals where we are seeing some really positive results. I expect this segment will be one we continue to build on in the near-term as customers seem to be enjoying the improved quality of the range we have available now.

This interview originally appeared in the June/July issue of Convenience & Impulse Retailing Magazine.

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