UCB Conference: Darren Park’s advice to convenience retailers 

In welcoming guest to the 2023 UCB Conference, Darren Park highlighted this year’s theme of ‘Without Limits’ and how it relates to the industry.

“This theme is not about rule breaking, it’s about paradigm breaking. It’s not about trying to beat somebody else; it’s about trying to exceed your own personal bests. And to do this, we need determination,” he said.

He explained that the determination and patience have got us through the trials and tribulations experienced over the past couple of years, but how in exiting Covid, we’re faced with new challenges.

Guided by the 2023 ‘Without Limits’ theme, Park spoke about the difficulties facing retailers in a post-Covid world but highlighted the unique opportunities tough times present to cater to people’s changing needs. 

“We’re again faced with new threats and challenges, and as times get tougher, dollars get tighter. Discretionary spending will get tight,” he said. 

But it’s not all bad news, said Park. As people switch from going out on the weekend to staying home, unique opportunities present themselves for local convenience stores. 

He said a night at home watching a movie would easily involve two bottles of soft drink and a 1kg bag of Allen’s Party Mix, chocolate and maybe even Ben & Jerry’s if they’re really lashing out.

“Snacks and drinks that mum and dad pick up on the way home from their local convenience store for about $40, actually presents a saving for the consumer,” said Park. 

Whereas dinner at a local restaurant might cost $200, staying in with snacks represents $160 in savings for families facing mortgage pressure. 

“We need to make sure we’re capitalising on this,” said Park, who said to make that happen, it’s essential to “invest ourselves, our team, our sites and our office. We must invest in sharing what works and what we have learned”.

Expanding on the theme, Park said ‘Without Limits’ doesn’t represent out-and-out competition but rather striving for personal success. 

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