Region/Countries: Australia, Australia and New Zealand Industry: Food and Beverage, Other Date: July 2016

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can take advantage of these opportunities by staying aware of the product cycles of major Australian retailers.

Australia’s department store and supermarket industries are worth a combined $91 billion ($120 billion Australian), and are forecast to grow further. The supermarket and grocery industry alone is expected to grow to $87 billion ($115 billion Australian) by 2020-21, creating significant opportunities for Wisconsin exporters of products suited to the supermarket and grocery store sectors.

The supermarket and grocery industry in Australia in particular is projected to grow at a rate of 2.7 percent through 2020-21. This is evidenced by the expanding presence and continued success of foreign-owned supermarkets such as Costco and Aldi. Since 2001, Aldi’s store presence in Australia has grown to over 400 stores, while Costco has expanded to eight warehouses since 2009.

Wisconsin companies interested in supplying Australian supermarkets, department stores or other specialty goods retailers may find opportunities with:

  • Australia’s leading supermarket chains including Woolworths and Coles;
  • Discount supermarket Aldi;
  • Wholesale supermarket Costco;
  • High-end traditional department stores such as David Jones and Myer;
  • Discount and mid-range department stores including Big W, Kmart and Target; and
  • Outdoor, sporting and camping goods stores such as Boating Camping Fishing (BCF).

Regarding the supply of Australia’s retail market, Wisconsin companies will benefit by keeping in mind the following points:

  • Sourcing: Australian retailers source directly from the manufacturer and through distributors.
  • Timing: Product lines are generally reviewed at scheduled dates/periods throughout the year, and the supplier/distributor will have the best chance of success by contacting the relevant category buyer at the correct time.
  • Turnaround: The time between product review, its acceptance into a retailer’s product catalogue and its appearance on shelves can be lengthy.

As an example, supermarkets, department stores and other major retailers such as electronic goods retailers maintain a dedicated staff of category buyers that review product lines at scheduled times/periods throughout the year, generally on a biannual or seasonal basis. Woolworths, Australia’s leading supermarket chain of over 700 stores, will conduct a minor product review in October 2016, and its next major review is scheduled for February 2017, with expected on-shelf implementation in July 2017.  Costco reviews its product lines in the last week of February and August each year.

Wisconsin companies interested in supplying Australia’s retail sector via the supermarket, department store or other major retail avenues are encouraged to review the dedicated supplier portals provided by retailers such as Aldi, Woolworths and Coles. Companies should keep the product review cycle in mind and consider appointing an in-country distribution partner that can better identify and act on opportunities.  Wisconsin companies may also benefit from attending/exhibiting at Fine Food Australia, Australia’s leading exhibition for the food service and retail sectors, from Sept. 12-15, 2016.