Roundtable Series: Lou Jardin, SPAR

What changes have you seen in the industry over the past year?

We see a revitalised Woolworths which has reversed years of negative trends and shedding the Masters legacy has positioned Woolworths back as a formidable force. Metcash was a major beneficiary in this, where they were able to achieve significant synergies from integrating Home Hardware into Mitre 10. Aldi began rolling out their new concept with expanded fresh and their entry in WA and SA established them as a national player. Costco continues to open stores and now we have seen the announcement of Amazon and Kaufland which are about to enter the market.

What are the current issues facing the industry in your opinion?

Added to this we have also seen the growth of on-line shopping, with consumer’s trends towards ‘Ready-to-Eat’ take-home packs and the home delivery of prepared food and the proliferation of food apps such as Foodora, Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Together with this, we now see the growth of health segments within the supermarkets with consumer trends moving towards sugar free and lower fat options. The offers in stores are undergoing rapid change with many new products appearing on the shelves.

Any personal milestones or company achievements you would like to highlight?

This financial year has been a groundbreaking year for SPAR Australia and SPAR retailers where the years of laying the foundation has finally translated into positive sales growth. We are very proud of our achievements given the sector is going through one of the most difficult trading periods of the past decade. Another big milestone for SPAR has seen the introduction of the SPAR private-label program where we are slowly converting products from the Fabulous brand to SPAR private-label. At last year’s Tradeshow, SPAR Australia embraced the International theme of ‘better together’. The ‘better together’ program has delivered significant benefits to the network in the form of products, support services and expertise. SPAR International continues to be the premier independent retail brand in the world with over 12,500 locations and represented in 48 countries. With all the changes to the retail market we at SPAR are very confident that we are well positioned to withstand the complexity and changes to the market.

What are your predictions for the industry over the next 12 months?

We at SPAR are very confident in that our strategy is about building long-term sustainability. The long association with SPAR International is delivering huge benefits in the ability to source product at very competitive prices. This will continue as we add to the product range

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