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Supermarket Prices At The Service Station

The days will soon be gone of paying premium prices for doing your grocery shopping when you buy your petrol. But only if you fill up at Gull.

Woolworths New Zealand, a subsidiary of Hong Kong based Dairy Farm Group announced today that the national supermarket chain is forming an alliance with independent petrol retailer Gull Petroleum as part of its plan to extend the supermarket-at- service stations format.

Gull has 17 service stations mainly in the Auckland and Bay of Plenty areas, the majority of which are being converted to house Woolworths supermarkets.

Others, mainly due to size restrictions, will operate as convenience stores. There are four more sites under construction and another five in the pipeline.

The agreement with Australian-based Gull sees Woolworths managing the partnership sites with Gull responsible for petrol pricing and supply. The forecourt will be branded Gull and the shop branded Woolworths.

The Woolworths at Gull supermarkets will stock a wide range of grocery, fresh, frozen and chilled products featuring Woolworths’ most popular lines all at supermarket prices.

The mini-supermarkets will also stock automotive products but alcohol will not be available, at least initially.

The partnership will be cemented on April 18 and the first refurbished Woolworths at Gull is due to open at the end of May.

A joint Woolworths-Gull board is to be established and future sites will be determined through shared decision-making. Gull is on record as saying it wants to open at least 40 service stations in the North Island.

Woolworths chief executive Andrew Davidson said his company was determined to make a success of the supermarkets at petrol stations concept.

“We’ve been talking to Gull for several months,” Mr Davidson said.

“Typically the sites complement a full supermarket service, presenting a low price convenient option rather than cannibalising existing Woolworths stores,” Mr Davidson said.

“Gull and Woolworths have great synergy both delivering quality products and services at sensible, supermarket prices.”

Gull Petroleum executive director Neil Rae said he was delighted with the deal.

“We’ve invested $25 million in our Mt Maunganui terminal not to mention our retail outlets. But we are also a lean team and this deal with Woolworths enables us to leverage on Woolworths’ infrastructure.

“We are also the consumer’s champion because wherever we open a service station petrol prices local area come down.”

Mr Rae said there were no immediate plans to expand to the South Island although longer term that was a probability. He said current Gull operators would be offered an incentive package to stay on.

Two independently-owned Gull sites in the central North Island are not part of the plan.

Gull is based in Western Australia and was founded in 1976 by Fred Rae, Neil’s father. Today it has more than 100 service stations throughout Australia’s most western state.


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