From our CEO

In FY22 our team of 24,000 proved once again that we’re committed to making sure New Zealanders get more out of life. Whether it was keeping people safe and food on shelves through the thick of lockdowns, or innovating to better deliver on our customer promises, it was a year that together we can all be proud of.

It’s challenging to pick out a few key events in a year that, at times, felt like several jammed into one. However, when I reflect on the past twelve months, the thing that stands out most was that in the midst of high intensity, there was an incredible level of focus, collaboration and commitment from Foodies people right across our stores, support centre and supply chain teams. I believe this was the magic which enabled us to be agile, deliver strongly and continue to build as a customer driven retailer for New Zealanders.

FY22 was a strong financial year for Foodstuffs North Island. We demonstrated powerful execution in a crisis. We also set a record low Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) at 2.9 and this is credit to the ongoing prioritisation of and commitment to safety and wellbeing that our people and leaders put in every day across the co-op.

The introduction of the Customer Promises Tracker means we have an effective way to keep our finger on the pulse for how customers believe we’re delivering on each of our customer promises. It was good to see PAK’nSAVE, New World and Four Square come out with scores in the high 70s and we are now able to build store by store action plans so we can continue to focus on and invest in the things that matter most to customers. Embedding the Customer Promises in everything we do will continue to be a key focus and the goal is to see these scores climb again in FY23. 

All our brands performed well in FY22, with PAK’nSAVE being the fastest growing retail banner for the year with 5.6% same store revenue growth. New World saw same store revenue growth at 3.9% and it was great to see their KitchenAid promotion perform so well with 1.1million products taken home by customers. It was another strong year for Four Square with revenue at $675m and they were also announced as a Kincentric Best Employer in Australasia for the fourth year in a row. Gilmours continued to achieve revenue growth despite the ongoing challenges COVID-19 brought to Gilmours customers in the hospitality industry, with revenue up $51m on an all-store basis. Private Label had another incredible year with growth of +6.5% vs last year.

We opened three brand new stores in FY22 - Four Square Onetangi, Four Square Marsden Cove and New World Te Kauwhata. These new generation stores were designed and now operate to meet the unique needs of their communities and it’s fantastic to bring a modern, fresh and authentically local offering to these areas. It was also great to have PAK’nSAVE Henderson re-open for their community too after its COVID-affected re-build.

Through every COVID wave we delivered on the fundamentals of keeping our teams and customers safe and reassured New Zealanders that we could keep food on shelf. We applied the early learnings and saw many individual examples of great leadership and agility with the new challenges Delta and Omicron brought. We ensured new Zealanders who shopped at our stores were able to get what their families needed in a worrying time. We also set up the Covid Relief Fund providing support to Food Bank and Food Poverty organisations.

Our involvement and response to the Commerce Commission’s Market Study into the retail grocery sector was a significant piece of work for us. We were committed and actively engaged in the process by being up for the challenge, creating a meaningful action plan that we could get on with immediately and staying transparent and accountable throughout. From the initial stages, through the draft and final reports, we worked hard to focus on the facts and on the role we play to create the best possible outcome for New Zealanders. The Market Study showed that there is more we can do to remove genuine barriers to market entry that are within our control and deliver better value for customers, and we have a clear roadmap and are underway with delivering change. We’ll continue to hold ourselves publicly accountable as we work every day to do that, including working constructively with the Government and supplier partners.

Looking ahead

It’s a different kind of crisis that we’re heading into next year. Inflation and the cost of living has quickly become top of mind and conversation for New Zealanders and the part we play as a grocery retailer will always be a key part of that. We have an important role and responsibility and our focus for the year ahead will be to buy and range really well, be as efficient as we possibly can so we add the least amount of cost, and present our retail offers physically and digitally to make sure customers can find value easily. I know our team will rise to this challenge and be able to stand proudly again in a year from now and clearly show how we took responsibility to make sure New Zealanders got more out of life in a whole new way.

I am looking forward to our co-op marking 100 years together in FY23 and the opportunity that will bring for us to remember the story that’s brought us this far, celebrate with the people who bring the heart to everything we do and look forward to our next 100 years.

I am personally incredibly proud of the way our co-op faced into another rollercoaster year and the level of grit and determination our leaders and their teams showed through it all. We have an awesome team who show up every day to deliver on our purpose and it’s a privilege to be part of it.

Chris Quin