18/09/2007 - 22:00

Staying on message

18/09/2007 - 22:00

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Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder has great admiration for retailing executives such as Archie Norman, who was largely responsible for turning around the fortunes of UK supermarket group, Asda, before its sale to American retail giant Wal-Mart in 1999.

Staying on message

Wesfarmers chief executive officer Richard Goyder has great admiration for retailing executives such as Archie Norman, who was largely responsible for turning around the fortunes of UK supermarket group, Asda, before its sale to American retail giant Wal-Mart in 1999.

Mr Goyder said Mr Norman, who had been contracted by Wesfarmers’ former European private equity partner Permira, had provided some insight on Coles’ marketing strategy.

“He said you guys [Coles] have a confused message and there are too many specials,” Mr Goyder said, suggesting Mr Norman may have had an influence on the new campaign.

Coles has recently screened TV commercials with brief, simple messages.

Mr Norman had an incredible eye for detail, Mr Goyder said.

However, the retailing veteran currently has no formal engagement with Wesfarmers.

Coles has also fumbled on other levels, he said, including poor stocking of shelves at some outlets and a short-term focus from its employees when they should be concentrating on what the customer really wants.

Mr Goyder admits he does not have Mr Norman’s retail eye for detail but is confident enough a shopper to know that things as simple as poor lighting can affect where someone chooses to shop.

Mr Goyder said he hoped to borrow from the likes of the UK’s Tesco supermarkets model in a bid to turn around the fortunes of Coles – something its current management have been attempting for the past several years.

“Tesco have a better feel and they have great theatre to them,” Mr Goyder said. “But we need to get it right for Australian conditions,” he said.

Mr Goyder also welcomes competition, which could include Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey, who is looking to start a rival to Officeworks.

“I’m a great fan of being in competitive markets because if you are not you lose your edge,” Mr Goyder said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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