‘Retail is a ruthless game’: What Barbeques Galore CEO Angus McDonald has learnt in his 20+ year career
Barbeques Galore chief executive Angus McDonald took his first step into the world of retail as a school boy, working casual shifts at Safeway supermarkets (now owned by Woolworths), before entering a trainee management program with the company.
From there, he took an opportunity to jump over to the Super Retail Group — the owners of Super Cheap Auto, Rebel Sports, and BCF — as an area manager for Victoria before being plucked to lead the company’s New Zealand business. He led some of Super Retail Group’s B2B, merchandising, and e-commerce divisions before moving into his current role at Barbeques Galore.
He called himself a “dyed-in-the-wool retailer” when I caught up with him for an interview discussing his career, and how the sector has changed throughout his 20+ years.
Along the way, McDonald has had promotions he admits he was “massively underqualified for, and too young for”, each giving him new experiences.
Over the past year, Barbeques Galore has closed 14 stores, and opened seven new stores, trying to achieve a better return per floor size across its franchises and corporate controlled locations. This includes its switch from the Supa Centre in Sydney’s Moore Park, reported to cost $1 million per year in rent, to a smaller premise in neighbouring Alexandria.
At the time of our interview, the company had 38 franchise stores, and 50 run by the head office.
McDonald explains the strategy behind the decision, and how the company’s e-commerce growth picked up by 40% over the past year, reaching $10 million in sales, 8% of its total expected revenue of $170 million, rising to $200 million when taking into account its franchise stores.