AACS CEO Jeff Rogut
What changes have you seen in the industry over the past year?
Australia’s convenience industry enjoyed another year of solid growth and is now valued at $8.4 billion in annual sales, however the channel’s rate of growth slowed for the first time in more than five years.
What are the current issues facing the industry in your opinion?
The decline in categories such as comms and publications continue at a faster rate rather than new products and categories are being introduced. To grow we need to see far more ‘innovation and not imitation’ in terms of products for our industry.
Any personal milestones or company achievements you would like to highlight?
AACS has had another very successful year with terrific attendances and industry support at our events, study tours etc. Our overseas study tour to China promises to be another highlight as does our AACS Convenience Leaders Summit which is run in conjunction with the C&I Expo again in 2018.
What are your predictions for the industry over the next 12 months?
Irrespective of how far the future-focus extends, value remains the key watchword. Our industry must continuously assess how we provide optimal value to customers, particularly on destination driving value items, or else the perception of being expensive across the store will continue. Retailers should be conscious of highly competitive conditions across retail channels, especially with 45% of Australian households making numerous cutbacks to save money in the last six months (to February 2018). A higher proportion of households perceive that their financial situation has worsened, and shoppers indicate that value-driven spending will persist, irrespective of any notable upturn in the economy.