First look: SUPA VALU, Ballina, Australia

Date : 19 March 2021

Nick Miles

Head of Insight - Asia Pacific

Metcash and Ritchies Supermarkets has launched the second SUPA VALU store in Australia in Ballina, New South Wales.

New larger format set to impress

The new store is a conversion of an existing SUPA IGA and is the second SUPA VALU store to open in Australia, following the Doonside store opening in western Sydney last year. At 3,000 sq m the store is larger than the first one, but has a very similar design with striking yellow and black signage, a focus on value and big savings, a large fresh area with good sightlines and extra wide and easy to navigate grocery aisles. There is also a strong focus on operational efficiency with palate floor stacks, larger aisle ends, a curated range and industrial style shelving.

Source: Metcash

Consistency and differentiation are focus areas for new banners

Metcash announced earlier this week at its investor day that it plans to roll out a suite of new brands across its stores over the next few years. This will help bring consistency to the IGA portfolio with national brand guidelines and a core offer for each format. It will also help retailers better position stores to the location and shoppers that they serve. Finally, it should help Metcash and its retailers drive some clear differentiation between its stores and those offer by both Coles and Woolworths.

Source: Metcash

Scaling format will be a top priority

The next step is for Metcash to roll out the new banners, as well as scale up its format trials, both SUPA VALU in its larger stores and The Fresh Pantry format in its smaller formats. We expect the decision to open the second SUPA VALU in Ballina, a town of less than 30,000 people and located 600km north of Sydney and 160km south of Brisbane, is not a coincidence. The location is very different from Doonside (suburban Sydney) and will help Metcash learn more about the format and how shoppers respond to the offer, ahead of more stores opening in the near future.

Source: McCartney Design

We think it is great...

We love the look of the new SUPA VALU stores as they are looking to breathe new life into larger IGA stores that, pandemic aside, have struggled for growth in recent years, plus they also tick all the elements of our 'RED' model. We believe that for stores to survive and thrive moving forward stores need to be Relevant, Efficient and Differentiated and this format looks to tick all the boxes. The strong focus on fresh food and value will naturally compliment the growth of online grocery and give people a reason to visit these larger format stores. The operations are clearly efficient with improved use of space, signage and navigation, a more industrial style fit out and bulk displays. In terms of differentiation, I don't need to tell anyone that the format is a stark contrast to a Coles or Woolworths and has its own clear brand identity. If I was to benchmark this against other retailers, the stores remind me of the successful Pak'nSave foodbarn banner from Foodstuffs in New Zealand, or Kaufland stores in Europe. Indeed, Metcash might well be using its larger formats to simply step into the clear space left by Kaufland's aborted entry into the market in early 2020, a smart move. 

Source: McCartney Design