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AT A TIME when so many Australian retailers are struggling – and many failing – one company stands out as an industry innovator which has not only manoeuvred its way to success but has judiciously expanded its collection of brands. Super Retail Group – the umbrella group for SuperCheap Auto, BCF, Rebel Sport, Amart Sport and Ray’s Outdoors – is a retailer with a lot going on. Super Retail Group CEO and managing director, Peter Birtles, tells Business Acumen editor Mike Sullivan how teamwork and a culture of innovation keeps driving the group through continual organic growth, growth by careful acquisition and the development of new brands and products that even sell beyond the group’s own stores.
BUYING Rebel Sport and Amart Sport was widely seen as a risky move, in industry circles, by Super Retail Group in 2011. After all, weren’t those private equity-owned businesses failing? How would they fit into a group whose expertise was predominantly in automotive and outdoors retailing?
Where was the pedigree? It wasn’t like the creation of BCF (and purchase of Ray’s Outdoors), where outdoors products could be tested as part of the SuperCheap Auto offering until the group was comfortable with the sector. Could Super Retail Group’s accomplished motor racetrack and off-the-beaten-track retailing achievements be applied to the running tracks and sports pitches of Australia?
Super Retail Group CEO and managing director, Peter Birtles asked these kinds of questions and many, many more when his group made a bid for Rebel Sport and what had once been Amart All Sports with then-owner Archer Capital. The private equity firm had bought Amart in 2004 and Rebel Sport in 2006, hoping to do what they usually do: build the businesses and sell at a huge profit.
“They ran the business and they were potentially looking to IPO the business and, of course, with the Global Financial Crisis it all fell away,” Mr Birtles reflected. The key factor was the buying price, as the group had long identified the right kind of sports offering as being a good area for expansion.
“It wasn’t so much an opportunistic thing,” Mr Birtles said. “Sports was always identified as a category that we thought would fit into the model that we have and we had been talking to Archer Capital, who were the owners of the business, for a number of years and we said, look if you are interested in selling, we’d like to have a look.
“That conversation developed and there was always a point in time in which expectations of value get closer. Initially a bit too far apart, but it all came together so we were able to strike a deal.
“I give Archer Capital credit for the way they ran the business for their own objectives. They are a financial owner looking for financial outcomes and that’s their key objective. We are a retail organisation and, while we have to contemplate and plan a return for shareholders, we are also very much focused on running the organisation for the long term – for long term success and long term growth.”
The DNA of Super Retail Group kicked in very quickly after the sports brands came under its umbrella.
“There is a difference in philosophy in that if you are running a business for the long term you have got to drive and grow the top line of the business,” Mr Birtles said. “But if you are in it for the short term then maybe you can just look after the bottom line and not worry so much about the top line. That really was a different perspective.
“When we took on the business we really said to the whole team, right, we want you to really go for sales.”
As the group had found in the past, this was a breath of fresh air for the staff – who found out quickly that Super Retail Group had the management smarts as well as the financial power to lift the businesses.
“If you think about it, retail businesses are really people businesses,” Mr Birtles said. “We employ a lot of people for the turnover that we generate. We employ 12,000 people across the group and about 4500-5000 of those are in the sports businesses.
“One of the key things is that you send a message to people who work in retail. They work in retail because retail is about sales. So, if you start saying to people, hey, we are focusing on sales, they get up and start going, right, great, because this is what I want. This is what my job is. That job is to sell stuff.
“So if you have got the management saying we are going to support you and help you sell, that’s a very different business to work for. Different to one that is saying it is about cost and it is about margin. It creates a different message and, for most of our team, they want a clear set of objectives and it really should be about sales.”
THE PEOPLE EQUATION
Where Super Retail Group takes its support to a new level is in the way it tracks not only its financial progress but also how its people are coping with change.
“We use an external company called Aon Hewitt who work with us on benchmarking engagement scores in the organisation,” Mr Birtles said. “At the time of the acquisition, the engagement score across the sporting businesses was about 33 percent. The retail industry average is about 55 percent. Best practice starts to get you about the 60-65 percent type average.
“So in the sports businesses, nearly 60 percent of the team were saying ‘we don’t believe in this company’. ‘We are not engaged’. ‘We are not passionate when we come to work’.
“So it was a big issue. We have worked on that and in 18 months we have shifted that now to 60 percent (of staff) saying they were engaged. Aon Hewitt are saying to us that is an incredible change and they don’t see many organisations that can deliver such a significant change in such a short period of time. So that’s great.”
Super Retail Group’s retail smarts came to the fore right away when they cleared inventory that had been hampering the sports stores.
“One of the key things was that, as part of the (former) focus on profit, there wasn’t a commitment to turning the old inventory out … because generally when you have to clear you have to discount to clear,” Mr Birtles said. “Around 18 percent of the inventory was old.
“It wasn’t current versions of the stock. The stores were full of stuff that was out of date. It was actually clogging up the store. So it creates an environment in which the team say, hey, we have got all this stuff that is actually hard for us to sell, at full price. The only way we can sell it is to discount it.
“So we came in and said, right, we want you to get rid of all this stuff. Move it out, so we can then regenerate the stores, get newer merchandise in, newer ranges, newer product, get the stores looking a bit more exciting. The team, of course, thought that was fantastic.”
The other message Super Retail Group imparted was that they wanted to grow the business.
“There were 126 stores, I think, at the time of acquisition, and we said our plan over the next five or six years is to grow that to 185 stores – and we are going to start spending money on the existing stores as well, start refurbishing them,” Mr Birtles said.
“The team is suddenly saying there is somebody who wants to help us and invest in us and support us. That’s all been key (to the rapid turnaround).”
WHAT’S THE INCENTIVE?
So many ‘sales’ organisations focus on structuring incentives for sales success – but Super Retail Group plays a different game altogether.
“It’s interesting in these things in that our philosophy is that incentive schemes play a role – but in the end it is the culture,” Mr Birtles said. “And it’s the leadership that is absolutely critical in changing culture.
“If you make cultural change all about reward, then it actually doesn’t imbed in the organisation. It also changes the philosophy.
“In our organisation, what we are trying to do is create a passion for what we do and a passion for our products and the activities that we support,” he said.
“We would rather try to build that emotional engagement in what we are doing rather than just saying, hey, you do actually get a reward – because it doesn’t create that same sense.
“We haven’t really changed the incentive schemes. We are moving gradually towards more of a team-based approach, which is something that we have in the rest of the organisation. We want to reward the team.
“Whilst the selling part of the role is important, the team member that keeps the store looking clean and keeps the products on the shelves looking good, sells hello to the customer as they are walking around the store … all of those things all contribute to the customer experience as well as that final person who contributes to the sale. So, that’s all part of what we try and do.
“To be fair, there are some unique elements to the sports business and as we have gotten a better understanding of the particular aspects of merchandising and range management of apparel and footwear, we have been able to bring some of that understanding back into our leisure businesses, our BCF and Ray’s Outdoors businesses. So they have benefitted from some of the knowledge.”
The transfer of knowledge is a great strength of Super Retail Group businesses, Mr Birtles said, and it has always been part of the culture for ideas and experiences to flow between the businesses. He said staff and management were always learning from other parts of the business.
“Apparel and footwear represent around two-thirds of the sales in the sports businesses,” Mr Birtles said, as an example.
“How do you manage that, whereas in our leisure businesses apparel and footwear was around, let’s say, 15 to 20 percent of the business. So it was always a small part and therefore the focus in those businesses was all on the hard goods and the consumable type products, but not necessarily the soft goods.
“And so we didn’t necessarily do soft goods that well and now, I think, the leisure business is starting to benefit. We are doing soft goods much better in the leisure businesses because of what we have learned from the sports businesses.”
He said benefits flowed through as well to range selection and in-store presentation.
“The way in which we present the apparel now in the leisure businesses is a lot better now than it used to be,” he said. “That’s where the store team can bring their own personalities and their own creativity to the fore. It’s fantastic to see.
“One of the things (I see) when I travel around the stores is that the store teams are always very proud of what they have done. I was recently in a store in Newcastle, one of our Rebel stores down there, and there was a young girl, maybe about 20-21, who was running the ladies’ apparel section and her displays were just incredible. The creativity. She is putting all these mannequin displays together and so on ... it was just fantastic. You could see the real pride in what was being achieved – and not just for her as an individual but the whole team. It was amazing.”
Mr Birtles said it was vital to highlight those individuals and performances as they were inspirational for others in the organisation.
The dialogue throughout Super Retail Group is ongoing, fluid and nowhere near as formal as its ‘IP transfer’ tag suggests.
“While we have separate businesses, we do try to create an environment in which we can share ideas and that’s part of the philosophy of the whole organisation,” Mr Birtles said. “We have a saying of ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’. That is, we should always be open to a different perspective or a different experience.
“On a formal level we have the management team that gets together but we particularly encourage the general managers of merchandise and retail operations to spend time together so that they are sharing ideas and experiences,” he said. That usually takes place every three months.
“We do that to be sure we get that crossover. They spend time in store and talk about experiences and so on.”
AHEAD OF THE GAME
While Mr Birtles admitted some parts of the business had proven challenging, such as the integration of Goldcross Cycles, the group was happy to see the sports businesses trending ahead of expectations.
“Certainly in relation to sports, absolutely,” he said. “We invested $610 million in buying the (sports) business, so it is a big investment. We’ve got a 10-year business case that we put together, to ensure that we get the returns, therefore you’ve got your targets as part of that. The year that’s just finished (FY2012-13) we ended up with a profit that was about 10 percent ahead of where we thought we’d be. So that’s all very pleasing. That’s all part of getting us to a very healthy return on investment.”
How the group as a whole has managed to win where other Australian and even international retailers have floundered is a much bigger question that Mr Birtles and his team have thought about long and hard – and continue to examine on a daily basis.
“I think if you look across retail I would say that at a high level you have got three different groups,” he said. “You have got your food businesses like Woolworths and Coles that take a big chunk of the retail spend. Those businesses are pretty steady. They are going pretty solidly.
“Then you have got businesses that are skewed towards selling stuff that is aimed at replacing things that people already have. By that I mean, we’ve already got clothes, we’ve already got furniture, we’ve already got TVs – all of that sort of stuff we’ve already got.
“So we (as consumers) make a choice as to whether we have to replace it today, tomorrow, three months, six months time. I think that what’s happened with consumer confidence being low is that those decisions are more, ‘okay, I’m not going to do it this week, I’ll postpone it’.
“Then there are businesses that are about selling products that are consumed or taken as part of a leisure type experience. I think if you look around and you look at businesses like Flight Centre, or Bunnings, businesses involved in gyms and so on, consumers are still spending money on doing their thing on the weekends and in their spare time in the evenings and so on.”
Mr Birtles called them ‘quality of life’ choices and counted once unheard of businesses – such as beauty salons, nail bars and health massage salons – as being successful in that niche, and growing. “I think that’s where people are going,” he said.
“If you look at our businesses, we are generally selling product that is consumed as part of a leisure experience,” Mr Birtles said. “I think we keep that positivity and that focus.
“Having said that, I think we are also gaining market share in the markets that we are in. I think we are able to do that through the capabilities that we have got, in terms of how we run stores, how we present product, how we select product, how we market. I think we generally do lead our categories in terms of those things. We are winning our share or we are growing our share of customers.
“Retail had a really good time, from 2005-2010. What’s been happening is that the world has been moving on. Because some people were having such a good time that they did not necessarily invest in or change their business, now things have gotten a bit tougher and they are now having to change their business model. So you are seeing some of the businesses like David Jones and Myer having to put through a lot of change in their businesses, to try and respond to the changing customer conditions.
“I think it would be fair to say that particularly David Jones was managed in a way that, again, was all about cost for a period of time and not about ‘how do we position ourselves for the future?’. I think the current CEO is trying to redress that but of course he has got the challenges and the impacts of what happened before him.”
He said Myer had also flirted with private equity and the approach had moved to building and selling the business.
Mr Birtles agrees that the internet and e-commerce is disrupting many retail business models, but in Super Retail Group’s case it has become more about how the staff and systems adapt to increasingly online-savvy customers.
He said online sales were an early part of the mix for Super Retail Group, but were not yet large.
“At this point, to be frank, it is relatively small in terms of impact,” Mr Birtles said. “If you look at the nature of a lot of our product, there is an immediacy factor and there is obviously not a high value, either, in that the average transaction value in a Super Cheap Auto is $35. The average item value is about $15.
“In BCF the average item value is about $25 to $30. And it’s similar in sports. What we are finding is that a lot of customers still don’t think ahead for that type of product. It’s ‘I need to get such-and-such a product and I want to go and get it now’. So there is that element.
“But what we do find is that customers are definitely more knowledgeable about their choices than they were historically. They are coming into store with a much greater level of knowledge. You’ll see (for example at a Super Cheap Auto store) where we are testing a lot more technology in the store. It’s not only for the customer but it is also for the team member.”
There has already been a shift in how staff members engage with customers because of digital technologies.
“What we are saying to our team is that, historically, we have felt that we have had to be in a situation where we needed to know more than the customer. That kind of mindset: the customer comes in and they want to ask questions and therefore we have got to demonstrate that we have a high level of knowledge.
“But the reality is that if you have got customers that are focused on a particular area, then they can quite often have more knowledge than the team member. What the team member can do is use the technology that is in the store, and the availability of information, to work with the customer to confirm the customer’s choices and opinions – as opposed to having to be this oracle that provides all the information.
“That’s a change in philosophy and a change in mindset. We are in the very early stages of that, but that’s something that I see as really important. So it’s, kind of, go on the journey with the customer and on a bit of a voyage of discovery.
“We’ve got things like kiosks in store so the team member can say to the customer, let’s go and have a look here. Let’s go on screen and get the information.
“In a business like ours, where there are lots and lots of products, it is actually very difficult for a team member to have detailed knowledge of every single part of the business. So using technology to help the team member is as important as helping the customer.”
Mr Birtles said where digital communication technologies were coming into their own was in the training and product knowledge areas.
“That’s what we see, very much so,” he said. “The teams already say that if things are a little quieter in the store, they will spend time watching those videos and picking up tidbits and so on. I think that’s really important.
“We have a formal training night in the stores once a month. As part of that they get sent a DVD from the office which has a variety of videos on there. So we would have the category managers talking about products or some of our key suppliers talking about products and so on.”
While Super Retail Group’s results usually garner the headlines – and with good reason, in 2012/13 the group had a 22 percent increase in group sales to $2.02 billion; a 22 percent increase in EBIT to $172.3 million; and a 13 percent increase in earnings per share to 52.3 cents – the innovation coming through is where headlines are being created for the next five years.
Take, for instance, the development of stand-alone products and brands that have come from the group’s knowledge of what customers will be looking for in the future. Today, some of those products are designed to sell beyond the group’s own stores.
Then there are the collaborative kiosk arrangements in which the auto, sports and leisure brands are placed within other retail environments.
A case in point is the SuperCheap Auto arrangement with BP service stations.
“Within the BP service station, there will be a gondola of auto parts and accessories they have bought through Super Retail Group,” Mr Birtles said. “That will be interesting.”
The group is also moving into wholesaling and having BCF points in regional stores.
“We are talking about all the local small town fishing and tackle stores, where those towns themselves would never be big enough to support a BCF store, but there is still a local tourist and local community fishing business,” he said.
“That’s an opportunity. We can say to those guys, we can actually give you the benefit of our buying power. So those are things that we are certainly exploring as well.”
Super Retail Group has a strategic planning process in the organisation that generates and tests such ideas, most of which come from the leadership team, Mr Birtles said.
Although SuperCheap Auto has realised, from testing, that mechanical servicing and accessories fitment is too far off the beam, there are other innovations coming through for the organisation’s core brand.
“We are actually challenging ourselves at the moment,” Mr Birtles said. “We’ve got a little trial going on with sales of auto products to mechanics, which is a different type of customer base (Auto Trade Direct).
“And I suppose we’re debating long and hard in terms of, does that really fit the organisational model. Is that something that we should be doing? Is that something essential or should we have a laser-like focus on retail customers?
“You play with it. But it’s an interesting one and sometimes organisations can make mistakes by trying to go into areas in which they are not really set up to do and they don’t really have the expertise. They think they do, but they kind of get there and find they don’t. There have been plenty of examples of retailers that have gone into other areas and struggled.”
MANUFACTURING NEW BRANDS
Although Super Retail Group is not a manufacturer in its own right, it certainly manufactures goods.
It started with the SCA brand of auto components and tools, then graduated up the line into the Calibre auto products group. Now the group is having strong success with its outdoor and leisure brands Wanderer, Blueline and Ridgerider.
Super Retail Group has much of its branded product designed and manufactured in Australia, but a lot is also managed offshore, mostly in China.
“For example, our Calibre brake pads would be manufactured for us by Bendix (in Australia),” Mr Birtles said. “Our Calibre oil is manufactured by Caltex. So we have got local manufacturing going on.
“The SCA batteries are done by Century Batteries. So absolutely there is a local element to that.
“Own brand sales are about 38 percent of the overall sales of the business. And of the own brand sales I would say about 60 percent would be sourced internationally, 30 percent sourced locally,” he said.
“I use the term own brand, but if my management team heard me do that they would give me a bit of a slapping,” Mr Birtles laughed. “Because we are not trying to manage them as what we call own brands we are trying to manage them as what we call ‘private brands’.
“Which is that they are actually stand-alone brands – and you are going to see a bit of an evolution coming through.
“The SCA brand takes a bit of a lesser role. It will still be there in the organisation and it has been very successful, but we want to take it to the next level and have brands that are more category-specific to generate a greater level of authority.
“So, this is a brand that is all about outdoors and four-wheel driving and travel and camping and you will see that in the business now with the Ridgerider brand drive across all our 4WD and trailer type areas – because that is the brand that we are developing there.
“We have got a brand called Tool Pro which is coming into the tools section. That type of stuff.
“We have done that a little bit more with BCF where you have got the Wanderer brand, which is a camping brand, and Blueline which is our baiting product brand.
“Wanderer is coming up in general customer surveys as to naming brands of camping. You have got your Coleman and Black Wolf, Austrail-type names, but Wanderer is starting to be mentioned in there with the top five brands in camping.
“That’s good and that’s where we want to be: actually seeing our own brands on the rise. That is also linked in to wholesale,” he said.
“It is actually easier for a third party reseller to sell Wanderer than it is, for example, to sell say, BCF. Or to sell Ridgerider rather than something that says SCA.
“From our point of view, if we have those brands out there and they are in other businesses as well, that’s building the credibility of the brands.
“The philosophy is, we want the world’s best brands. We want the Bosch and the Ryco and the Stanley and the Castrol. We want the Coleman and the Columbia and the Black Wolf and the North Face and we want the Nike and Adidas and Asics and so on,” Mr Birtles said.
“We want those guys in all of our businesses but we also want to give the customer a choice in terms of some of our products as well that we have developed.”
The big advantage Super Retail Group is beginning to exploit is its customer knowledge and anticipation of what they need. Managers play a big role in communicating those opportunities.
“Generally the concepts come from the category manager,” Mr Birtles said. “We don’t have design capability, but the category manager will say I think there is an opportunity to develop this type of a product and they will either then go to a local manufacturer and say, this is what I’m thinking, can you design something for me?; or they will turn to an international manufacturer and ask them to do that, through our sourcing team in China.
“They are looking all the time in terms of where they get customer feedback. They are looking at what they are seeing happening in other markets, in Europe and in the States, so they are pulling their ideas together all the time.”
Mr Birtles said local manufacturers also came up with ideas all the time.
“It’s tough and because we are a big distribution channel for a lot of manufacturers,” Mr Birtles said. “So, the guys get a lot of things that they have to deal with and sometimes it’s quite hard for somebody from outside to get a product listed because it is just so much going on and the teams are so busy.”
STAFF ARE ENTHUSIASTS
Investment bankers come to Super Retail Group with a constant stream of ‘opportunity’.
“We get presented with a lot of ideas which, on the face of it are interesting ideas, but they just don’t fit the organisation,” Mr Birtles said.
“What fits naturally into the organisation so we get a cultural alignment is really key. Different businesses use different languages. What we want to be able to do is use one language which everyone is comfortable with and understands.
“If we got into, say, grocery, it’s a very, very different type of industry, so we just wouldn’t as it just wouldn’t make sense for us to be in that area. Or if we got into selling furniture it just wouldn’t fit what we do as an organisation.
“That’s the great thing with all of our businesses is that you can employ people who actually really relate to what they are doing and they really enjoy what they are doing,” he said.
“The auto business is full of people who have got their car that’s their pride and joy and they work on it at the weekend – that’s what they do. They sit down and watch every V8 Supercars race and they enjoy the fact that the business is associated with that. They love that.
“And it’s the same with BCF. Half the team, at least, would be spending every spare moment that they can getting out there fishing. With sports it’s the same.
“I think that’s really important. As an organisation we are in a very fortunate position that we’ve got that. It’s a real asset.”
That characteristic of the business makes it easier for management to see where certain opportunities will fit and where others will not, Mr Birtles said.
“Godfrey’s vacuum cleaning business was up for sale and we were asked if we were interested. Who gets excited about vacuum cleaners?” Mr Birtles grinned.
“The guys that run each of the businesses as well, they love their businesses. Steve Doyle (leisure retailing managing director) is a passionate fisherman. Erica Berchtold (sports retailing managing director) loves her sports. David Ajala (auto and commercial managing director), he’s got a car racing licence.
“They actually embody their businesses. So we have got it right from the top of each leg of the organisation and then it permeates its way through.”
Mr Birtles said that philosophy also permeated the way Super Retail Group developed its loyalty programs – not as discount systems but as an experiential club.
“We want a relationship with our customer that – and it’s a bit like what I was talking about with our team members – we want a relationship with our customer where it’s actually trying to help the customer do what they do with our products, not just sell them the products,” Mr Birtles said.
“If I am buying fishing products from you I am actually buying it to go catch a fish. That’s what I’m doing. So, if we can help you catch that fish, if we can engage in a conversation on that level, not (just) here’s a rod and here’s a reel and so on, and then you start to feel that, oh, this is a place that I want to spend some time in and I feel I’m getting some value from it. Not just, they are selling me something for a dollar.
“So the club has to be a facilitator of that. Yes it will offer some special deals and have that element to it, but as a customer it will give me opportunities that I wouldn’t get if I was not a member of the club. Club nights are part of it but, also, a new product that’s coming to market I get advanced notice of that before anyone else.
“With the SuperCheap program we had our best customers invited to Bathurst and they were taken into the pits. They were taken into this area where they were able to put on the headphones and they were in looking at the telemetric displays and hearing what’s going on in terms of the conversations with the drivers and all that sort of stuff. That kind of thing is just a money-can’t-buy experience. How fantastic is that?
“We are going to be re-launching the sports programs, the Rebel and Amart programs and what we want there is, if it comes through that you are into cricket, you get the opportunity to get into the nets with the Australian cricket team when they are in Brisbane, or something like that.
“That’s where we want to get to, so it isn’t just, ‘oh, this thing gives me some money and who cares, it’s one of many.’ It’s got to actually stand for something else.”
TOP OF CEO’S MIND
The long-term strategic growth of the company is something Peter Birtles always has top-of-mind. Right now, there is a lot of investment going into building capability, especially in distribution and applying new technology.
“The big piece at the moment is that we are investing a lot of money in the organisation to build both the customer relationship management systems and capabilities for the organisation, the internet-online capabilities and the physical supply chain capabilities,” Mr Birtles said.
“We spent $110 million on capex (capital expenditure) last year and we are going to spend another $100 million on capex in the current year.
“We are building two new distribution centres, one in Brisbane (Brendale) and one in Sydney (Erskine Park). So there is a lot of investment going in which is all about shaping the organisation of the future,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure that all goes to plan and we start getting the benefits from what we are doing. There is a lot of business change work going on. That is really our key as well as the underlying trading and keeping that strong.
“The underlying focus for us is the investment program and really shaping the business so that we really are a true multi-channel retail business. By 2015 we have a plan to be a really strong multi-channel retail business.”
The new distribution centres and systems will boost all brands, Mr Birtles said.
“We’ve got one in Melbourne that is doing most of our brands today. Then the plan is to do the same in Sydney and Brisbane. As those come on we can do much more of the sports products than we are able to do today,” he said.
“There are efficiency savings, there are some stock holding savings. But the big thing, I think, is that it allows us to really think about the way in which we source and move product. Our view is that Australian retailers will increasingly need to buy product at the source of manufacture, whether that’s in Australia or internationally, and not buy the product from the middle (suppliers). We have got to get back to that point of manufacture.
“Then you are going to have to have the supply chain to do that. In a number of areas we have to do seasonal buys because we have been buying through third parties – and everyone’s trying to buffer their position – whereas if we can buy directly then I think we can get more of an ongoing demand and supply pattern happening. We can actually supply much more to the demand.”
Even this major capital expenditure has come from consultation with managers and leaders of the business, Mr Birtles said, basically as a desire to control as many variables as possible in the business.
“You’ve had the growth in the third party logistics providers,” Mr Birtles said. “It’s been an area that a number of people (retailers) have said, hey, we’ll outsource this because it is not our position.
“But we’re saying, actually, in terms of our organisation it is an area that we want to control and the dynamics of the organisation are such that it would make it difficult for us to outsource.”
It illustrates the clear thinking of Mr Birtles and his Super Retail Group teams that they’ve decided on a typically Australian foundation for developing a great Australian retail business – some very big sheds.