11/09/2015 - 13:47

Woolies to move in on Coles’ patch

11/09/2015 - 13:47

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Woolworths is expected to develop a supermarket on a site in Singleton, south of Golden Bay, where rival Coles was planning to build one of its stores.

Woolworths is expected to develop a supermarket on a site in Singleton, south of Golden Bay, where rival Coles was planning to build one of its stores.

Last July, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission forced Wesfarmers-owned Coles to sell the land due to concerns over another development.

While Business News understands the deal has not yet been finalised, industry sources suggest Tony Poli’s Aigle Royal Group will pay $8.25 million to purchase the land, which Coles bought from developer Golden Group late last year.

The Coles supermarket was to anchor the town centre at Golden Group’s $200 million Vista private estate, where around 1,100 lots are being developed.

But Coles’ plans were derailed by the ACCC in July, when the consumer watchdog said the supermarket chain had to sell off the site if it was to gain approval to operate another store in nearby Lakelands.

At the time, the ACCC said if Coles were to operate a supermarket at Singleton, it would have a detrimental effect on competition in the local market.

Coles also operates a supermarket in Meadow Springs, which is five kilometres away from the Lakelands Shopping Centre, which is being developed by ISPT and is expected to be completed by 2017.

The only other supermarket offering in the area is a proposed Aldi store, which will also be at Lakelands Shopping Centre.

The ACCC said Coles had addressed its concerns by selling the site, allowing another long-term competitor to enter the market.

The Coles deal at Lakelands was brokered by Colliers International director of retail investment services, Mark Werrett, who would not comment on the Aigle Royal Group sale when contacted by Business News.

The ACCC is expected to approve the sale to Aigle Royal Group, which is understood to be close to finalising a deal with Woolworths to take up the site, in coming weeks.

Aigle Royal Group made its first foray into retail property in February this year, when it purchased a vacant site in Wattle Grove for $2.6 million.

That site, at 332 Hale Road, has development approval in place for a neighbourhood shopping centre.

Aigle Royal Group is also expected to make further acquisitions in Perth’s retail sector in coming months, utilising Mr Poli’s $400 million war chest of funds from the sale of Aquila Resources to China’s Baosteel and Australia’s Aurizon.

But the biggest splash made by Aigle Royal Group since it was established last year is its acquisition of a 59-hectare tract of land at Port Geographe in Busselton.

At Port Geographe, Aigle Royal Group is planning to develop 120 canal lots and 530 residential blocks over the next 10 years.

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