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Foodland's big jobs claim


Independent supermarket chain Foodland claims it will create more than 2500 jobs over the next five years as it builds 22 new stores across South Australia.

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Two stores, in McLaren Vale south of Adelaide and Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula, have already opened as part of the $200 million expansion.

Another two Adelaide stores are under construction and the company hopes to have half of its new outlets open by mid 2017.

Foodland has announced the expansion strategy as it faces looming competition from European discount chain Aldi.

Foodland chairman Roger Drake said the supermarket owners had decided it was time to invest and expand to take on Aldi and the two big Australian chains, Woolworths and Coles.

“It’s very difficult in a tough market, but we’ve sort of projected what our five-year plan is, and we’ve realised that we need a new warehouse, we’ve outgrown that,” he told ABC 891 radio this morning.

“We’ve done it on a shoestring and it’s time that a few of the existing owners have decided to upgrade their stores, take on new locations, especially in country areas, and we’re going to make sure that we give the two big guys and Aldi a run for their money.”

He said the claim of more than 2500 jobs being created was based on about 150 people being employed in each new store.

“Where you look at an Aldi store, they probably work on half the amount of staff that we do. For instance, we carry the fresh, we carry the service and we carry the range, and to do that obviously you need more people employed.”

Aldi announced in November that Seaford Heights, Parafield Gardens, Hallett Cove and Woodcroft stores were “on track” to open on February 3 next year as part of its $300 million foray into the SA grocery sector.

The four stores will be the first of 150 supermarkets planned for suburbs and regional centres around the state.

Other stores are planned for West Lakes, Hawthorn, Victor Harbor, Blakeview, Smithfield, Kilburn, Gilles Plains, Berri, Marion, Aldinga, Evanston, Nuriootpa, Golden Grove, Salisbury, Mount Gambier, Port Pirie and Yorke Peninsula.

Business is booming for the discount supermarket chain which, since taking on rivals on the east coast and mushrooming nationwide after initiating plans to move into Western Australia and SA, has become the greatest threat to the Coles and Woolworths grocery dominance.

Foodland is run on a different model. It’s a looser collection of independently-owned stores of varying styles, sizes and approaches.

Drake argues that a South Australian local focus is the Foodland difference.

He said the strength of independent supermarkets in SA meant that this state has had “the lowest food prices for as long as I can recall”.


– with AAP

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