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FAL buying process goes east

FOODLAND Associated Limited is centralising its purchasing and distribution processes in Melbourne.

Strong rumours had been circulating the market that the entire FAL operation was moving to Melbourne, and even that FAL group managing director Trevor Coates had put his house on the market in preparation for a move east.

Mr Coates said the rumours had been just that – rumours.

“Only our buying, distribution and marketing structures will be centralised in Melbourne,” he said.

“We’ve had three buying points around Australia and we’re not getting the best out of that. We need to pull the whole thing together.

“We’ve added some $2 billion in food turnover, counting New Zealand.”

However, the consolidation of buying operations will not flow over to FAL’s New Zealand operations.

The recent acquisition of the Woolworths supermarket chain in New Zealand has added a further 85 supermarkets to its business.

FAL already owned 70 super-markets and 65 Farmers department stores in NZ. It also runs 66 supermarkets in Australia – 24 in WA – with the remainder spread through New South Wales and Queensland.

Mr Coates said the Australian and New Zealand buying operations would be able to cooperate more closely.

“I’ve had the experience of doing this in other countries. There are huge opportunities to leverage your purchasing across the group,” he said.

“However, you still have to take into account the quirks of various local markets.

“We will be leaving fresh food buying roles in each individual State. This should make us more competitive in the market.”

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