Metcash has published its annual report, which highlights the significant progress it has made in a number of key areas, as well as how the company is progressing with its MFuture program, designed to provide a pathway to sustainable growth.

Chairman Rob Murray said that the early success of the MFutures initiatives had laid the foundations for both Metcash and its independent retailers.

“The improved competitiveness of our retailers was a key factor in their retention of new and returning customers gained through COVID which, together with the continuation of an increased preference for local neighbourhood shopping and the migration from cities to regional areas, drove strong sales growth,” Murray said.

He added: “We are now two years into the MFuture program designed to provide a pathway to sustainable growth for Metcash, balanced with cost efficiencies. This year significant progress was made with key initiatives such as our store upgrade programs, rolling out new store formats, expanding our private and exclusive label ranges and accelerating our digital plans.

“We also sharpened our strategic direction to include an increased focus on customers and the community to support our aim of further improving the competitiveness of our retailers.

“The early success of MFuture has provided a strong foundation for the remaining three years of the program, which includes initiatives to retain new and returned customers gained through COVID, as well as attracting new shoppers to our retail networks.”

Looking ahead, Murray said: “While it has been an exceptional year for Metcash, shoppers are continuing to enjoy visiting their local independent stores in our Food, Liquor and Hardware network with sales in the early part of FY22 continuing to be elevated against pre-COVID levels.

“Making our retailers more competitive has proven to be the right strategy for Metcash.

Importantly, we continue to be well positioned with a strong financial position that includes flexibility to invest in our growth plans. Our sharpened MFuture plans for the next three years aim to further improve our retailers’ competitiveness and include a balance of good growth and cost out initiatives.

“While our Hardware pillar is already positioned with leading digital technology, we are stepping up our investment in digital to accelerate the delivery of solutions for our Food and Liquor retailers who now have an increased interest in these solutions.

“We are also investing in a new project named ‘Horizon’ which aims to drive efficiencies through simplification, as well as growth through making it easier to do business with Metcash. This will be a staged program with the first phase focused on simplification and building a better future operating platform.”

While Metcash has already reported strong liquor growth in its financial results for FY2021, Group CEO Jeff Adams also highlighted some key achievements for the liquor pillar in the year.

“Progress with our Best Store in Town initiatives resulted in a further 430 stores refreshed and an additional 133 cool rooms being upgraded,” Adams said.

“We also expanded our Owned and Exclusive product range with the acquisition of the Kollaras private label portfolio which enables us to further drive consumer value and quality while building margin for our retailers.

“The initial focus with our retailers has been expansion of the Owned and Exclusive wine category.

“The business continued to trial its Shop My Local online offer that was launched successfully ahead of time late last financial year in response to the impacts of COVID. A further online platform was trialled in FY21 for the Cellarbrations brand in Victoria, and additional brand-based platforms are expected to be added in FY22.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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