Coles to cut its product range by 30%

Coles plans to reduce the number of products on its supermarket shelves by 30% in a dramatic move to boost profits.

Coles plans to reduce the number of products on its supermarket shelves by 30% in a dramatic move to boost profits.

Group CEO Ian McLeod says the greatly reduced variety of choice was already being trialled in six Melbourne stores to see how shoppers reacted. If successful, a second trial in other stores would occur, followed by the scheme’s introduction nationally.

Coles is also likely to cut the number of weekly discounts and catalogue promotions it offers shoppers and to increase the number of private or own-label products it sells by up to 20%.

At present, an average Australian supermarket carries 20,000 lines.

The changes are aimed at lifting the profits of Coles, which was sold to the Perth-based conglomerate Wesfarmers late last year.

It is not known which categories – such as dairy, frozen food, canned vegetables or toiletries – would have their range cut.

“Early results are encouraging… it shows just how over-ranged we are in certain segments,” says McLeod.

He says the company was conducting a trial to ensure “we don’t make national mistakes” that could trigger a mass defection by shoppers to rival stores.

Coles generally has stocked a wider range of products than its main rival, Woolworths.

Inside Retailing

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