Coles reveals new ‘specialty’ store
Coles has opened the first of its small-format "local neighbourhood supermarkets" in Melbourne's Surrey Hills.
Dubbed Coles Local, the new store is about half the size of a full supermarket at 1280sq m, and features gourmet local produce, specialty ranges, an in-store chef and barista and a "Foodie Hub".
It's Coles' answer to the smaller "Metro" stores, which have been around for several years, but is more akin to Woolworths' failed up-market Thomas Dux grocer or United States chain Whole Foods.
"Coles Local gives the Surrey Hills community the convenience of a supermarket with the character of a specialty store," Coles chief executive Steven Cain said in a statement.
"The great thing about Coles Local is that it makes life easier for our customers and helps them explore their love of food.
"Our customers have told us they're often juggling shopping with a busy family and work schedule, so there will always be a friendly team member who can help them find the specialty products they want to take home for their families."
The new store includes exclusive Coles Local-branded products include ready meals, an extensive vegetarian and vegan selection including the Beyond Meat range, MoVida pantry products, Brunetti panettones, Noisette pastries, local Backyard Honey, Laurent baked goods and a Mexican selection.
The "Foodie Hub" features meats from famed specialty butcher Meatsmith, and the resident chef offers product samples, advice and recipes to customers in store.
Coles says the Local stores will sell "100 per cent Australian-grown fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fresh seafood" and have a zero food waste policy, with a "food digester" that uses water and microbes to partly digest inedible food waste and send it to the local wastewater treatment plant where it is turned into renewable energy.
All edible food waste will be donated to SecondBite and the store has community partnerships with the Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Community Centre and Surrey Hills Rotary Club.
"We're here to be part of Surrey Hills," Mr Cain said. "Our customers have told us that they want to shop in a sustainable store that reduces food waste and helps the local community."
Coles says the new store forms part of a $120 million investment in Victoria over the next 10 months that will create more than 1600 construction and retail jobs across seven new supermarkets.
It plans to bring the format to other states but hasn't provided further details, saying only that it will "listen carefully to customer feedback on the Surrey Hills store as we seek to roll out smaller format stores in coming years".
Wesfarmers shareholders will meet this Thursday to vote on a proposed $20 billion demerger of the country's second largest supermarket. If the vote gets up, Coles will list on the stock exchange on November 21.