22 Apr, 2021
Gelatissimo to launch in the US, expand at home
Inside Retail

Sydney-based gelato brand Gelatissimo is to enter the US market this year – and will accelerate its expansion plan in Australia.

The company is targeting opening 20 locations within Australia and overseas this year, with its American debut scheduled for Houston, Texas, in June, followed by several stores in Hawaii.

“Global expansion is at the heart of our strategic plan for 2021/22,” said Filipe Barbosa, CEO at Gelatissimo, in a statement.

“We have spent the last two decades enjoying sustainable growth and an ever-increasing brand awareness nationally. We are now looking to the future with excitement as we undertake this new chapter, focused on continued brand growth around the world,” he said.

The plans have required a strong recruitment drive for new franchisees, with a franchising website built to attract store owners – especially in Queensland.

“We will celebrate 20 years of successful growth in 2022 and so feel the time is now right to really ramp up our international presence and cement our brand on a world stage.”

Gelatissimo has stores across Australia, as well as in China, the Philippines, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and India.


22 Apr, 2021
Australia Post names Woolworths exec as new CEO
Inside Retail

Australia Post has appointed Paul Graham as its new CEO and managing director five months after former CEO Christina Holgate left her position, amid what’s now known as ‘the Cartier controversy’.

Graham, who will start in the role in September, joins Australia Post after a tenure at Woolworths Group as chief supply chain officer and an extensive career working in e-commerce. Before joining Woolworths he was Global COO and Europe CEO at DHL covering 65 countries and 170,000 staff.

He said he feels fortunate to be joining the group at a time when it can truly capitalise on the extraordinary growth in e-commerce experienced during the past year and continue developing the company’s retail and digital offerings while keeping letter deliveries strong.

“I am most looking forward to meeting the team across the country – the posties, Post Office workers, mail processors and delivery drivers that kept our country operating during Covid-19,” Graham said.

“I am also looking forward to getting out into regional Australia where Australia Post has an enormous presence, as well as meeting with the thousands of Post Office licensee partners who play a critical role every day serving the country.”

More reading: Company directors can’t serve two masters: what went wrong at AusPost

Graham will be receiving an annual total salary of $1.46 million and the potential to earn an equal amount in incentive payments, in accordance with the parameters set by the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal.

According to Australia Post chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo, the company undertook a thorough global search before choosing Graham to lead the business through the next phase of its transformation program. 

“Paul has a demonstrated track-record of delivering results in large, complex organisations and is a proven leader managing large teams,” Di Bartolomeo said.

“The board was impressed by Paul’s 40 years of deep industry experience working in supply chain in Australia, Europe and Asia. We are also confident Paul’s community and customer philosophy is a perfect fit for Australia Post.”

Acting group CEO and CFO Rodney Boys will continue to lead the business through the CEO transition period until Graham commences on his role in September.

Holgate left the company in November last year without seeking any financial compensation after the controversial decision to hand out almost $20,000 worth of watches to senior management at Australia Post came under close media and government scrutiny.

Holgate has since accused the Prime Minister of bullying her out of the role, after his comments in parliament led to her ‘dismissal’.

Edit: This story previously suggested Christine Holgate resigned from her position at Australia Post, which is not accurate. The story has been updated to reflect this.

22 Apr, 2021
Ties that bind: inside Woolworths’ big drinks demerger
Financial Review

It’s getting to the pointy end for Brad Banducci and Steve Donohue.

The chief executive of grocery giant Woolworths and the boss of Woolies’ drinks and hotel business Endeavour Group are in the final months of preparations for the $10 billion demerger of Endeavour. Financing for the spin-off is being negotiated and a board is being assembled under Endeavour chairman-elect Peter Hearl and private equity buyers are still sniffing around, although most in the market see a demerger as the most likely option.

“It’s the next couple of months that become very important, but we’re on track with where we thought we would be,” Banducci says, before pausing. “In fact, where we thought we would be a year ago.”

The pandemic, and the role Woolworths played on the frontline of the crisis, forced a 12 month delay on the demerger plan, which will see Endeavour become an ASX 50 business with annual sales of around $10 billion and underlying earnings of about $1 billion.

The delay has not been wasted.

“I think it’s a better business today than it was a year ago, just because Steve and the team have had time to become one team [and] continue to progress on the strategy,” Banducci says.

Donohue agrees. While the pandemic caused no shortage of pain for Endeavour – particularly in its hotels division which struggled with forced shutdowns – it has given him 12 months to work on the new group’s culture. Endeavour’s all important purpose statement – “creating a more sociable future together” – is at the heart of this.

It’s a clear nod to Woolies’ own purpose – “create better experiences together for a better tomorrow” – and an indication of how much of the Woolworths DNA Endeavour will start its new life with.

This is further underlined by the partnership agreements the two groups have put in place ahead of the deal. Woolworths and Endeavour have ironed out 24 separate deals, covering supply chain, store management, loyalty and fintech, digital and media and business support.

Woolworths will, for example, provide all of Endeavour’s transport warehousing services. Where Woolworths and Endeavour have stores in the same locations – BWS bottle shops in Woolies’ supermarkets, for example – Woolworths will provide facilities management and replenish the drinks group’s stock.

The two companies will partner on loyalty – Endeavour will remain part of Woolies Everyday Rewards program – and the BWS liquor range will continue to be available through the site. Other agreements cover everything from trolley management to cleaning.

Banducci says the partnership agreements will underpin the success of the demerger for Woolworths investors. “I think when you look at it, to have two of the leading retailers in Australia post-demerger in a strong partnership is prima facie attractive for both of them.”

Of course, the level of partnership between the two groups raises interesting questions.

Could Endeavour become too reliant on its former parent?

And while Banducci and Donohue clearly have a great understanding – borne in part from the deep experience in each other’s business; Banducci previously ran Woolies’ liquor business and Donohue helped turn around the supermarket division – will relations always be so cosy?

Donohue says it’s important not to overestimate the importance of the Woolies’ agreements, arguing they are the first among myriad partnerships that power Endeavour’s business.

Further, Banducci and Donohue agree a rigid approach to the partnership agreements won’t work. The vision is that the two teams continue to work hand-in-glove as they do today – sharing lunch rooms, helping out in store during busy patches, getting stock from the loading dock to the shelf.

“I think it’s all well and good for Brad and I have a good relationship, but the more important relationships are those that exist between the many hundreds and thousands of team members that work together every day,” Donohue says.

“The partnerships that I’ve lived through in the last few decades that have been successful have not relied on an agreement, they’ve relied on relationships. I think given the shared culture of these two organisations, the prospect of things going pear-shaped is hopefully limited. But it’ll come down to people at the end of the day.”

Maintaining the rapport that exists today between the two organisations will also be vital to the collaboration Donohue and Banducci want to see in the future.

“There’s a couple of [areas of partnership] that are sustaining – keep the boxes moving, keep the systems running – and then there’s some interesting sort of growth opportunities that we’re partnering on together more in that in the tech and digital space.”

The establishment of the Endeavour partnership agreements has also been important for breathing life into Banducci’s vision for Woolworths to build a business out of providing a select group of partners with third-party services, with logistics, loyalty, digital and media being likely to be among the most prominent.

Endeavour will be Woolies’ biggest partner, and Banducci says the process of establishing agreements ahead of the demerger has made Woolworths more disciplined about its service provision.

“This is like a catalyst for what the new Woolworths Group has to be,” he says.

“It’s sort of a broader change management piece around trying to make sure we’re all clear on who does what for whom, and what value is created into it. So there’s a really good opportunity to just put a lot more discipline into our business, particularly as we move into an ecosystem we’re providing services to people, to make sure it’s all done on the right basis.

“That doesn’t mean that as we’ve gone through and tried to make sure our costs are allocated correctly there hasn’t been a little bit of friction, like there is in every relationship. But I think it’s been good because it forces specificity.”

The new model represents a twist on the retail-as-a-service that, as Banducci points out, has become increasingly prevalent in online retail, with Shopify and Amazon helping retailers outsource core parts of their businesses.

“The world we live in is about building partnerships, because no business can do everything if it wants to act with sufficient agility, given the way out how fast things are moving,” he says.


14 Apr, 2021
Tween-focused skincare brand Allkinds launches
Inside FMCG

Retail group Brandbank has launched a new skincare brand focused solely on the tween market – those aged between 8 and 12 – called Allkinds.

The new brand launched online last week, and opened two stores in the last two weeks at Malvern Central in Melbourne and Westfield Miranda in Sydney – with a third store set to launch later this month in Bondi Junction.

“Allkinds is a place where kids can feel unstoppably, uniquely, [and] confidently themselves,” the brand said.

“Their products let kids try what looks fun, find their favourites, create routines that make them feel good, and stick to the stuff that makes them feel awesome.

“Allkinds also don’t divide our products into girls and boys – that has been left for the kids to decide.”

The business uses vegan, ‘nature-powered’ formula which has been carefully designed for the unique needs of a younger demographic, and is not tested on animals.

Products range from bath and bodycare, to hair products and nail protection, to headbands, hairclips, bags and ‘fun’.

14 Apr, 2021
Calabria Family Wines buys 140-year-old McWilliam’s business
Inside FMCG

Riverina and Barossa Valley winemaker Calabria Family Wines has acquired 140-year-old McWilliam’s Wines after it was placed into administration last year.

The acquisition, set to complete by the end of this month, will include the McWilliam’s brands, intellectual property and stock holdings. Calabria will also take over Hanwood vineyard, winery and cellar door. The value of the deal has not been disclosed. 

“Despite recent challenges, we know the McWilliam’s name carries a long and prestigious reputation as one of Australia’s oldest wine producers,” said Michael Calabria, GM at Calabria Family Wines. 

The new owners will work with KPMG and McWilliam’s to “ensure a smooth transition as the business changes hands”. Founded in 1877, the McWilliam’s portfolio includes a range of premium vineyard holdings across the Riverina and New South Wales. 

“We have great respect for the McWilliam family and the impact they have had on the Australian wine industry,” said Andrew Calabria, sales & marketing manager at Calabria. “We are committed to honouring the McWilliam’s legacy as we bring their portfolio of outstanding wines into our very own.” 

14 Apr, 2021
Coles relaunches ‘Down Down’ campaign to lower cost of weekly shops
Inside FMCG

oles has relaunched its price-dropping ‘Down Down’ campaign in an effort to bring the cost of Australian’s weekly shop down.

The campaign, which focuses on lowering the cost of hundreds of products across Coles’ entire product range, comes as the economic fallout of the pandemic continues to hit lower socio-economic Australians the hardest.

“A lot of Australian families are looking to get better value from their weekly budget, and with people still eating more meals at home we want to deliver great prices on the quality food our customers want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Coles chief executive of commercial and express Greg Davis said.

“Over the past 10 years customers have come to recognise Down Down and the Big Red Hand as indicators of trusted value at Coles, and our rollout of further Down Down prices lets them know that we are more committed than ever to lowering the cost of their weekly shop.”

An Oxfam report released earlier this year found while the world’s richest saw their wealth expand during the pandemic, it may take more than a decade for poorer people to recover from the economic impacts.

The Inequality Virus report also found that the pandemic has caused one of, if not the, worst jobs crisis of the last century – with hundreds of millions of people underemployed or out of work across the globe.

“We stand to witness the greatest rise in inequality since records began,” Oxfam Australia chief executive Lyn Morgan Oxfam said, according to the ABC.

“The deep divide between the rich and the poor is proving as deadly as the virus, [and] while the [Australian] Government should be congratulated for acting quickly to implement wage subsidies and other social protection measures last year, the inappropriate and unfair reversal of the increase to JobSeeker payments is a cruel blow to the poorest Australians.”

24 Mar, 2021
Coles, Nestle in plans to build first-ever soft plastics recycling plant
The Age
The Age

A consortium of high-profile companies including Coles and Nestle is planning to build a soft plastics recycling plant where chocolate bar wrappers or chip bags can be broken down and remade into new food-safe wrappings.

This Australian first-ever ‘circular’ soft plastics recycling plant is set to be built in Victoria, with the consortium preparing to kickstart the project in the coming months.

The technical, economic and environmental benefits of such a plant are being assessed as part of a feasibility study done by the two high-profile retailers in partnership with a bevy of multinationals and local technology companies, including $36 billion Dutch packaging manufacturer LyondellBasell, local biochemical startup Licella, and recycling company iQ Renew.

The group has already picked an area in Geelong suitable to construct the plant, which would be capable of producing 17,000 tonnes of soft plastic each year, enough to supply between 1.5 and 2 million homes.

Around 110 jobs would be produced through the construction and ongoing operation of the plant, but the consortium is hopeful the initial plant would be just the first of many.

“Around Australia, we’re looking at potentially 20 of these plants, but our focus initially is on Victoria,” Licella chief executive Len Humphreys said. “Our objective is to work with Coles around the country to close this loop in a way that’s never been done before.”

If built, the plant would be the first of its kind in Australia, able to take soft plastics - such as chocolate bar wrappers or chip bags - and recycle them into an oil that can then be used to create more food-safe soft plastic wrappings.

Circular recycling in this fashion has been historically difficult. Coles already runs a soft plastics recycling program with RedCycle, however, it is only able to convert the plastics into non-food safe materials, such as park benches or road base.

Coles’ chief property, export and sustainability officer Thinus Keeve told The Age the supermarket was keen to see the plant established, noting it would go a long way towards the retailer’s long-term sustainability goals.

“This deal is really about closing the loop from a selection and technology perspective, so that the plastic that gets manufactured today for food can be used tomorrow for food again,” he said.

While the project is still in its feasibility study phase, Mr Keeve said Coles was keen to support Licella and the other members of the consortium to “get this off the ground”.

Licella is building a similar commercial plant in the UK. Earlier this month it also completed a small-scale trial with Nestle, producing a prototype recycled KitKat wrapper.

While each member of the consortium is co-investing in the feasibility study, it’s not known if Coles will be an investor in the plant as well, with Mr Keeve saying it was too early in the process to know.

“But it’s fair to say we are very interested in this, and as Australia’s most sustainable supermarket we will be supporting initiatives like this to complete the circular economy,” he said.

Over the long term, these plants could incur cost savings for Coles’ private-label products, as the cost to purchase packaging would be lower, however, Mr Keeve said the retailer’s main objective was environmental, not financial.

Last year, the government passed the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act which will ban companies from exporting mixed plastic waste by July 2022, meaning local recycling solutions such as Licella’s will be required.

24 Mar, 2021
Reckitt Benckiser makes senior leadership appointments
Inside FMCG

Reckitt Benckiser has appointed Jonathon Gale and Jennifer Warr as sales and HR directors, respectively, for its hygiene business division in Australia/New Zealand.

Gale will succeed Oliver Tatlow, who has assumed the role of Reckitt Benckiser Hygiene’s ANZ regional director. Gale has spent more than 19 years working at Reckitt Benckiser across four global offices: Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. He recently oversaw the grocery channel for Reckitt Benckiser Hygiene in the US.

“Over many years abroad, I have watched the Australian team consistently produce best in class category growth platforms combined with superior sales execution and strong retailer partnerships,” he said.

Meanwhile, Warr will replace Natalie Saya, who has assumed the role of Reckitt Benckiser Hygiene global talent director. Warr has more than 15 years of experience in human resources and organisational psychology, which spans healthcare, FMCG and not-for-profit at companies including GenesisCare, Mylan (now Viatris) and MTC Australia.

“The team at RB Hygiene is incredibly passionate about providing high-quality consumer hygiene products to our community,” she said.

23 Mar, 2021
Plant-based meat sales jumped 46 per cent last year
Inside FMCG

Australians are continuing to transition to plant-based meat products, with consumer demand jumping exponentially during 2020 according to a report by think tank Food Frontier.

Retail sales in the sector jumped 46 per cent in the year to June 2020, while manufacturing revenue almost doubled to $70 million – driven by the fact national grocery retailers doubled the number of these products on display.

The transition is primarily being driven by health concerns, the report said, with a third of Australians surveyed in a recent study stating they are limiting their meat consumption.

And, according to modelling from Deloitte Access Economics, consumer sales in the plant-based meat sector will hit $3 billion by 2030, up from the $185 million seen during FY20.

“Australia’s plant-based meat companies are eyeing export opportunities and will be watching trends overseas closely, while some, including Fable Food Co, Fenn Foods and v2food, have already launched into Singapore, Japan, Korea, and other Asian markets,” said Food Frontier chief executive Thomas King.

“Australia has the agricultural capacity, commercial appetite and research know-how to become an international leader in new protein industries including plant-based meat. To not make the early investments necessary to leverage these unique strengths would be a missed opportunity.”

23 Mar, 2021
Guzman y Gomez IPO on hold after bumper sales driven by pandemic
The Age
The Age

Mexican food chain Guzman y Gomez has put its planned ASX float on hold after a bumper year of sales driven by COVID-19 and a significant investment from leading fund manager Hamish Douglass.

The chain which sells a quick and ‘clean’ take on Mexican food has grown rapidly to 151 stores globally, 21 of which will open this financial year.

Founder and chief executive Steven Marks said the IPO, which was initially slated for November last year, had not been derailed by COVID-19, just put on the back burner after the chain secured an $86.8 million investment from Hamish Douglass’ Magellan Financial Group in December.

“We were looking at an IPO which at the right time has always been a dream for me,” Mr Marks said. “I want people that love Guzman y Gomez to have the ability to own it.”

However, the IPO was postponed after Guzman y Gomez met with Magellan, which is a shareholder in Starbucks, Yum and McDonald’s, as part of its IPO roadshow and Mr Marks received a phone call from Mr Douglass.

“He called us up and he said ‘I love you, and I’ve got to get involved’,” Mr Marks said.

The investment from Magellan, which has more than $100 billion in funds under management, valued Guzman y Gomez at $870 million, higher than a reported IPO valuation of $500 million. “We thought that was fair,” Mr Marks said. “When you value businesses, you don’t value them in the past, you value the infrastructure you’ve built and what the future looks like.”

Mr Marks is predicting that future will involve a continuation of Guzman y Gomez’s fast growth trajectory with expectations of reaching up to $3 billion in sales in about six years’ time and opening 500 outlets across Australia.

The chain has also expanded to the United States, Japan and Singapore and Mr Marks said Guzman y Gomez is on track to record $400 million in sales across the chain for the financial year.

The most recent records filed with the financial regulator for the year ending June 2020 show Guzman y Gomez’s holding company recorded $77 million in revenue and a loss of $7 million after tax driven by a once-off cost connected with the chain’s entry into the US and cancellation of an area developer agreement in Queensland.

Investor Tom Cowan of TDM Growth Partners said Guzman y Gomez had come through the pandemic “flying” and the challenge for the business was dealing with its fast rate of expansion.

“When you are growing at that sort of rate, when you are opening 30 to 40 stores a year and you’re adding a significant number of people each year that’s always a challenge,” he said. “It’s what we would call an execution challenge but a positive one to find the right people and ensure you can continue to get the right outcomes.”

Mr Marks still wants to list Guzman y Gomez and said the chain would never take on private equity investors because he wants people to hold the business for the long term. “We are never in a rush to make decisions, we want to build a legacy here,” he said. “It’s happening just not this year.”

In the meantime Guzman y Gomez will use $10 million of the cash injection from Magellan to refit its restaurants to cope with the increased demand across eat in, takeaway and drive through.

“We’re actually refurbishing and revamping every single restaurant we have to meet demand which means more cooking equipment, more chiller, cooler space because all the fruits and vegetables are coming fresh every day,” Mr Marks said. “Because the revenue growth is explosive right now we need to make sure our restaurants are ready.”

10 Mar, 2021
Retail Zoo renegotiating debt after profit slump
Financial Review

Boost Juice and Betty’s Burgers owner Retail Zoo is hoping for a rebound in earnings this year after forced store closures contributed to a 69 per cent drop in bottom line profits in 2020.

According to accounts filed by Retail Zoo’s holding company, Roar Bidco, net profit fell to $2.8 million in the 12 months ending June from $9.1 million in 2019, including $9 million in brand impairments and $3.1 million in costs for a proposed initial public offering. Earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation fell to $34 million compared to $37 million in 2019.

While sales from company-owned stores, royalties, franchisees fees and supplier rebates rose 5 per cent to $136 million, Retail Zoo had to come to the aid of franchisees when most of its stores were forced to close and shift to a takeaway-only model during the national lockdown last March and April.

The company, which is owned by private equity firm Bain Capital and Boost Juice founder Janine and her husband Jeff Allis, has about 650 company-owned and franchised stores worldwide under the Boost, Betty’s Burgers, Salsa’s Fresh Mex and CIBO Espresso brands.

They pulled the plug on a proposed initial public offering in October 2019 when equity markets turned sour.

4 Mar, 2021
Beyond Meat signs coveted deals with McDonald’s, Yum!, but losses mount
Inside FMCG

Plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat has signed multi-year supply deals with McDonald’s Corp and Yum! Brands, but the company reported a quarterly loss that widely missed analyst expectations.

The plant-based meat industry has developed a frenzied following in recent years, and companies like Beyond Meat and rival Impossible Foods are among top players competing aggressively for deals with major food chains to build on this momentum. A deal with McDonald’s, in particular, is highly coveted in the industry.

Beyond Meat said its three-year global deal with McDonald’s would make it the world’s biggest restaurant chain’s preferred supplier for the patty in its new McPlant burger. The two companies will also develop other menu items like plant-based chicken, pork and eggs.

The maker of the Beyond Burger said it plans to create products over the next several years with Yum! Brands for its KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell menus.

Beyond Meat’s statements did not specify if the deals are exclusive, meaning that Impossible Foods and other rivals may still have a shot at working with the two fast-food chains.

Beyond Meat reported an increase in net sales of 3.5 per cent to $101.9 million in the December quarter, short of analysts’ forecast of $104.8 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Sales over the last two quarters have been hurt by diners on lockdown visiting fewer restaurants, eating into food service sales of Beyond Meat’s burgers, meatballs and sausages.

The company booked $3.7 million in Covid-19 expenses as it had to write off inventory associated with foodservice products determined to be unsalable.

The El Segundo, California-based company’s loss widened to $25.1 million, or 40 cents per share, from $452,000, or 1 cent per share. Excluding items, Beyond Meat’s loss was 34 cents per share, missing analysts’ estimate of 13 cents per share.

“Although weakened foodservice demand resulting from the global pandemic has impacted our near-term profitability, we continue to press forward with strategic investments,” Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said.

The company did not update its suspended outlook, saying the impact of Covid-19 made it difficult to forecast demand.

4 Mar, 2021
Record sales for Maggie Beer as consumers cook at home more
Inside FMCG

Food group Maggie Beer posted record sales during the first half year, powered by a huge increase in online sales during the pandemic and a solid performance across all brands. 

In a stock-exchange filing, the company said sales grew 20 per cent overall to $14.6 million and interim EBITDA surged from $100,000 a year earlier to $2.2 million. 

Within its brand portfolio, the Maggie Beer label recorded 28.6 per cent growth, Paris Creek Farms 11.4 per cent, and Saint David Dairy 5.5 per cent. E-commerce sales soared 167 per cent and now represent 8 per cent of group sales.

The company has also announced a new soup range will hit shelves in Woolworths and independent retailers in April. 

Among product categories, cheese was the best performer in the December half, up by 76 per cent, followed by cooking stocks, up 44 per cent, reflecting the consumer trend towards cooking at home more due to Covid-related lockdowns and restrictions on restaurant dining. 

CEO Chantale Millard said the second half year has continued to show a similarly strong trajectory to the first half. However she cautioned there is still economic uncertainty ahead as JobKeeper winds down on March 21. 

“Despite this uncertainty we remain confident of continuing to deliver double-digit net sales growth.”

26 Feb, 2021
IGA teams with DoorDash in grocery delivery
Inside FMCG

Independent supermarket network IGA has partnered with DoorDash to provide a groceries-on-demand service from more than 100 stores.

The service, which promises delivery within as little as 45 minutes, will see more than 1600 products listed on DoorDash app, three times the number offered by rival delivery apps.

IGA is the first supermarket group in Australia to partner with DoorDash to offer on-demand grocery delivery services. The service is available in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Cairns, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Wollongong, Rockhampton, Townsville, Albury and Bathurst. The company said it aims to expand the service to more locations soon.

“Reaching more than 75 per cent of Australians across the country, DoorDash is in a great position to support IGA’s network of stores nationwide and provide customers with convenient, reliable and cashless store-to-door deliveries,” said Chase Gardner, head of enterprise partnerships in Australia.

The partnership is also part of DoorDash’s expansion plan to other sectors other than solely restaurants, including grocery, convenience, retail and pet supplies.

15 Feb, 2021
Coles launches 90-minute click-and-collect to 400 stores nationwide
Inside FMCG

Coles has launched the ability for customers to click-and-collect their shopping within 90 minutes of ordering across 400 of its supermarkets nationally.

And, due to the speed, ‘Click&Collect Rapid’ customers will be able to shop an extended range including items such as hot roast chicken, which aren’t available for regular online shopping.

“Coles Online continues to grow in popularity and we’re excited to launch this offer for customers who are looking for a convenient and affordable shopping experience,” said Coles Online’s head of network development and customer delivery James Geddes.

“The feedback from customers who used [Rapid] during our trial last year was overwhelmingly positive and it has proven particularly popular with customers who tend to have smaller baskets and shop more frequently as they can place their order during the day and collect it on the way home.”

Customers using the new initiative can order up to 40 items which amount to a minimum spend of $30, and will pay a flat $5 fee for the picking, packing and preparation to make the order ready for collection between 2.30 pm and 5 pm.

The offer excludes items such as liquor, sushi, wraps, sandwiches and deli platters.

The business recently announced its first quarter revenue grew 10.5 per cent to $9.6 billion, with strong growth in its online and digital offer – online sales grew 57 per cent during the period – largely due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions popping up around the country.

The supermarket said it will announce its first half results on Wednesday 17, February.

15 Feb, 2021
Woolworths investing $50 million into upskilling workforce
Inside Retail

Woolworths Group is investing $50 million into upskilling, reskilling and redeploying its team over then next three years, as it is increasingly impacted by the pace of industry disruption and technological change.

The ‘Future of Work Fund’ will help around 60,000 of Woolies’ employees to skill up in digital, data analytics, machine learning and robotics over the next three years.

More investment is planned to train workers in advanced customer service skills, as well as team leadership and adopting more agile methods of work.

And, though the training program is to be created to suit Woolies’ needs, the knowledge gained through the initiative will be shared across the retail and other service industries to help other upskilling programs.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said, like many industries, retail is changing at the fastest pace in decades and that while they are largely positive changes, it also impacts the way employees work on a day-to-day basis.

“What our people do in 10-years’ time will almost certainly be different from now,” Banducci told SMH.

“Over time, our team members will do fewer manual and repetitive tasks, and more work that requires judgement, creativity and interpersonal skills. That’s an exciting prospect on many levels, but it also creates uncertainty.

“As Australia’s largest private employer, we want to lead this transition and ensure no team member is left behind by the wave of change we are all riding.”

Woolies employees over 200,000 people across Australia, and expects to employ many more as it continues to grow over the next decade, potentially in roles that may not exist today.

The supermarket’s fastest growing role in 2020 was the personal shopper – a role that didn’t exist in 2009, but in 2020 employed 25,000 people according to Banducci.

Key areas of upskilling will be seen in the supply chain, where workers will be trained in technical knowledge to deal with robotics and automation, to be redeployed elsewhere in the group, or to support a career outside of the group; in store operations, where workers will be trained to better serve customers in-store, as well as assist with e-commerce growth; and in store support.


5 Feb, 2021
Asahi Holdings Australia appoints new chairman
Inside FMCG

Beer business Asahi Beverages has appointed on Monday Roland van Bommel as the chairman of Asahi Holdings Australia (AHA).

Van Bommel became the acting chairman of AHA in December 2020 after Peter Margin left the role, originally joined the AHA Board in 2013 and was a former chief executive of William Grant & Sons and Maxxium Worldwide.

“I’m honoured by the opportunity, and energised by the challenge, of leading the AHA Board and ensuring we continue to achieve our ambitious growth targets and provide great jobs for our people” said van Bommel in a statement.

“Under the leadership of group chief executive Robert Iervasi and his executive leadership team we’re in a very strong position.

“The breadth of the Asahi Beverages business, manufacturing footprint and beverages portfolio gives us a great opportunity to deliver extraordinary results for our people, our partners, our customers, consumers and community.”

Iervasi said van Bommel’s understanding of the business, and the broader beverage industry, will help the group to ensure it is positioned well to meet the challenges of the next few years.

Carlton & United Breweries joined Asahi Lifestyle Beverages and Asahi Beverages New Zealand last year.

1 Dec, 2020
As demand for plant-based meat soars, a new $11 million manufacturing plant has opened in Sydney
Business Insider Australia

There’s another plant-based meat contender in Australia.

Proform Foods launched its $11 million plant-based meat manufacturing facility in Sydney on Thursday, designed to produce 5000 tonnes of ‘meat’ each year. The 1,600 square metre facility is in Mt Kuring-Gai, in Sydney’s north, and will use 70% Australian ingredients in its plant-based meat.

Its products are made under the MEET brand and are designed to have the same taste and texture of traditional meat.

Proform Foods makes 28 different products including meatballs, burgers, “beef style” strips, “chicken style” tenders and mince. Its MEET range is available in supermarkets and is set for global distribution in 2021. And Proform Foods plans to triple in growth in the next year as the demand for plant-based meat grows.

The company was created in 2008 by Stephen Dunn, the founder of Vogel Cereals. His son, Olympic swimmer Matt Dunn OAM, serves as CEO.

“We are incredibly excited to officially open the next generation plant-based meat manufacturing facility,” Matt Dunn said in a statement. “The global demand for plant-based products is booming, and our Australian innovation wins on both taste and texture.

“With plans already in the works to expand globally, we anticipate that the business will become a global leader in the US$4.3B plant-based meat industry, creating new jobs and export growth in Sydney and across the country.”

The facility was opened by Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Innovation Karen Andrews and Federal Member for Berowra, Julian Leeser. Andrews highlighted that plant-based meat is one of six major priorities under the government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

“Australians want to buy Australian Made and the world wants our food too,” she said in a statement. “By further growing this area of manufacturing we can create more jobs for Australians. This is a great example of value-adding to our proud agriculture industry, and alongside our meat producers, we can capitalise on Australia’s reputation for producing safe, premium, high-quality food.”

MEET joins the growing range of plant-based meat companies in Australia such as V2 Food and Fable. It invested $2.3 million in partnership with CSIRO as a research provider in 2006 and has since invested an extra $8 million in research and development, before spending $11 million on the new site.

In Australia, the plant-based meat sector is on track to generate $3 billion in sales and employ more than 6000 people by 2030, according to a report from Food Frontier. In addition, research from Colmar Barton found one in three Australians are consciously reducing their meat consumption, with health being a main reason for the decision. Other reasons include the environment, animal welfare, cost and growing range of plant- based that are available.

20 Nov, 2020
DoorDash to deliver goods from The Reject Shop within a day
Inside Retail

Australian discount variety store The Reject Shop has teamed with DoorDash to offer a same-day goods-delivery service. 

The Reject Shop has diversified over the years to expand its offer from general merchandise into low-priced essential products, including grocery, snacks, pet care, garden, party wares, cleaning supplies, toiletries and other household items. Customers now can order from its stores via the DoorDah app, with orders delivered in as little as 45 minutes.

“The DoorDash partnership allows The Reject Shop to trial an online offering quicker than we planned and with minimal capital investment,” said Andre Reich, CEO of the retailer.

“It is a customer-centric offering that provides new and existing customers with a choice around how they wish to shop with us, which has become increasingly important this year.”

According to the company, the collaboration marks DoorDash’s largest retail partnership in Australia on its marketplace. Both brands plan to expand the number of stores that offer online same-day delivery with South Australia coming online from this month.

To celebrate the partnership, customers within range of the 120 The Reject Shop stores will enjoy free delivery for orders from $20. The promotion will last until November 8.

20 Nov, 2020
Coca-Cola Amatil shares rise as investors anticipate higher bid
Financial Review

Coca-Cola Amatil is canvassing the views of investors and crunching shareholder numbers amid growing opposition to Coca-Cola European Partners' $9 billion offer.

The Australian beverage giant's shares have risen to their highest level since February amid rising speculation CCEP may have to lift its $12.75 a share offer to win over investors who believe the bid undervalues the company.

CCA shares rose 11¢ or 0.9 per cent to $12.69 on Monday. About 16 million shares changed hands during the session, after a fourth shareholder, Dublin-based Setanta Asset Management, said CCEP's offer was opportunistic and the $12.75 a share cash offer (which will be reduced if Coca-Cola Amatil declares a final dividend) materially undervalued the business.

The stock is now trading 6¢ below CCEP's offer price, suggesting that investors believe CCA will not pay a final dividend, that CCEP will lift the offer to overcome shareholder resistance or that the offer is guaranteed to succeed at the current price.


Coca-Cola Amatil's independent directors, led by CEO Alison Watkins, left, and chairman Ilana Atlas, may have been premature in recommending CCEP's offer.  James Brickwood

Even after taking into account record low interest rates and the time value of money it is rare for a target's shares to trade so close to the bid price almost four months before shareholders are due to vote on the offer, which is through a scheme of arrangement.

CCA's independent directors, including chairman Ilana Atlas, and group managing director Alison Watkins, have said they will unanimously recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme of arrangement, in the absence of a superior offer and subject to an independent expert concluding the scheme is fair and reasonable and in the best interests of independent shareholders.

Whether the independent directors stick to that recommendation in the face of growing shareholder opposition will depend on several factors over the next few months, including the company's full-year results in February, whether equity markets continue to rise and whether an independent expert deems the offer fair and reasonable.

As reported on Sunday, Setanta has urged CCA to go back to the negotiating table with CCEP to secure a better price for independent shareholders.

“The offer from CCEP fails to take into account the successful transformation program that is already under way in [Coca-Cola Amatil's] Australian beverages division, in addition to the strength of the business in New Zealand and growth potential in Indonesia," said Fergal Sarsfield, Setanta senior portfolio manager.

Scheme of arrangement

"Amatil’s management team have worked tirelessly to develop the company and the offer of $12.75 per share does not reflect the strength and value of the business."

Setanta owns 19.25 million CCA shares representing 2.65 per cent of the stock on issue, and 3.84 per cent of the shares not owned by The Coca-Cola Company.

Martin Currie Australia, Antares Capital and Pendal Group have also said the offer, through a scheme of arrangement, undervalues CCA.

Together, the four fund managers are estimated to account for 9 or 10 per cent of Amatil's shares, or 13 to 14 per cent of the shares not owned by The Coca-Cola Co.

The scheme of arrangement requires 75 per cent approval from independent shareholders, so the deal could fall over if only 17.3 per cent of the shares on issue were voted against the offer.

Some analysts and investors believe CCA's independent directors acted prematurely in recommending the offer.

Volumes rebounded

"The board approval seems somewhat premature but we estimate that CCEP may not have made the indicative proposal public without such a step from [Amatil]," JP Morgan analyst Shaun Cousins said in a report.

Unveiling the offer last month, CCEP said the price represented a 38 per cent premium to the three-month volume weighted average price and was 27 per cent higher than the average broker 12-month price target.

But Mr Cousins said analysts would have lifted their price targets after CCA's October trading update, which revealed that beverage volumes had rebounded in the September quarter and in October – rising 11.8 per cent in NSW – as consumers started venturing from their homes.

The bottler also announced another $15 million in cost savings, taking total annual cost savings by 2022 to $145 million.

Mr Cousins said on Monday he retained his view that the CCEP offer was too low.

"The next catalyst will be the full-year result in February, which is expected to provide further evidence of a recovery due to increased mobility, and coupled with the recently upgraded cost saving target, could indicate to a broader range of shareholders that $12.75 is not the right price," Mr Cousins said.


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