Com­pe­ti­tion wel­comed

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Greig John­ston

AS Aldi’s WA in­va­sion gath­ers steam, lo­cal re­tail­ers say they wel­come the com­pe­ti­tion from the Ger­man dis­count jug­ger­naut.

Al­ready en­trenched as Aus­tralia's third-largest gro­cery re­tailer, Aldi will open its first Perth store in Bem­lont to­mor­row and has planned to have 20 open by year’s end.

Aldi’s busi­ness model in­volves smaller stores stock­ing a smaller range of prod­ucts (around 900), thereby sav­ing on rent and pass­ing these cost cuts on to con­sumers. Since it opened its first Aus­tralian store in Jan­uary 2001, Aldi has taken the east coast by storm and now oc­cu­pies 12.1 per cent of Aus­tralia's su­per­mar­ket space – de­vel­op­ing a cult­like fol­low­ing among its devo­tees.

Wool­worths is still the mar­ket leader, with 37.3 per cent, while Coles has 32.5 per cent. IGA holds on to 9.7 per cent mar­ket share.

In the past three years, Aldi has taken its an­nual sales past $8 bil­lion, and the push into WA is part of the re­tailer’s plan to boost store num­bers from 373 to 628 by 2020.

With new Aldi stores set to open in Mirra­booka, Kwinana, Belmont and Joon­dalup, the WA gro­cery sec­tor is set for its big­gest shake-up in years.

But Grant Ra­m­age, WA Gen­eral Man­ager of Met­cash Food and Gro­cery Su­per­mar­kets, owner of the IGA brand, said his or­gan­i­sa­tion wel­comed the ar­rival.

“We think com­pe­ti­tion is good for shop­pers in WA,” Mr Ra­m­age said.

Wool­worths, too, is un­fazed by Aldi’s im­mi­nent ar­rival.

Coles said it would not com­ment on com­peti­tors.

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