That shift in consumer behavior towards shopping locally is expected to continue, and it has helped the independent grocery chain IGA become something of a comeback.
Overtaken as the third-largest grocery chain by Aldi a few years ago, the IGA is now experiencing a resurgence as it differs from its larger rivals.
While Coles last week abandoned its local butchers in the store, the IGA is expanding them.
In the last few days, they have hired six Cole butchers with plans to take on dozens more as they continue to customize their service in the store.
Although all supermarkets recorded bumper revenue based on lockdowns and panic purchases, the last 18 months in particular for the IGA have seen a turnaround with changes in consumer behavior, including preference for local shopping, increased migration to the regions and people working from home. and cook more food.
IGA owner Metcash’s latest results show that the grocery retail network increased as same sales by 10.5 percent compared to last year and 18.8 percent compared to fiscal year 2019.
Coles increased sales by 3 percent and Woolworths supermarkets by 5.4 percent in the past year, albeit from a much higher base than the IGA.
Under Metcash’s MFuture initiatives, the IGA has embarked on store upgrades, rolled out new store formats, including their mass offerings, expanded private and exclusive label series, and accelerated their e-commerce plans.
Some stores have moved toward walk-in cheese parlors, pizza ovens, an on-site sushi chef, Asian grocery store and now expanded on-site butcher services.
“You have that point of difference because you have the serving where you can get in touch with the customer, even if it’s a pre-packaged item, we can still advise the customer on how to cook and cook the item at home,” IGA Butcher Baylee Marcola- Lowe said.
Nearly a decade ago, the IGA focused on competing for price with its “Locked Down Low Prices” campaign, but it was no match for German juggernaut Aldi and the larger chains Coles and Woolworths.
Although they still compete on price and produce catalogs of weekly deals that match their rivals, that is no longer their entire focus.
“They’ve moved away from focusing on price and locking prices into ways they can actually create more value for shoppers,” said associate professor Gary Mortimer of QUT Business School.
Jospeh Romeo, who owns about 30 IGAs, said he has seen a major shift toward shopping locally since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the future of the chain looked brighter.
“As the IGA brand evolves, you will see more and more different formats, and more IGAs will be coming around your corner soon,” he told Nine News.
Hail inches thick as NSW was smashed by huge storms
Metcash CEO Jeff Adams announced on Friday that he is retiring and will be replaced by Doug Jones, current CEO of South African-based Massmart Wholesale.