Farmlands gains hold on Auck Rural Retail Market
Farmlands gains hold on Auckland Rural Retail Market
New Zealand’s largest rural retailer Farmlands is looking beyond the fence post and moving closer to Auckland.
Farmlands Chief Executive John Newland announced today Farmlands would open a store in Pukekohe to service the $20m rural retail market and 1500 farming properties in the Franklin District.
Mr Newland said the expansion towards Auckland had been in the pipeline as part of a targeted growth strategy and follows Farmlands entering Taranaki (Hawera) and Northland (Whangarei) in the last year. “Our research into the Auckland region has shown a strong demand for the Farmland’s style of rural retail, servicing a wide range of land usage. “Even without a store we already have increasing brand awareness with 70 existing shareholder members in Pukekohe including our chairman. “Farmlands is very interested in servicing lifestyle farms along with our continued focus on larger pastoral farms, dairying and horticulture – it’s a complementary fit,” Mr Newland said. Tuakau beef farmer Neil Aicken, who has been a member of Farmlands for three years is welcoming new competition to his district. “Farmers like me have been waiting for Farmlands to arrive, we’ve been talking about it ever since the company signalled a couple of years ago that it would look north. “We’ve been calling out for new blood because the rural retail market in Pukekohe is complacent – that’s why I joined Farmlands Hamilton in the first place. I’ve been prepared to drive the extra hour because the service and advice is worth it. “Farmlands will have plenty of interest from lifestyle farmers as well because the store’s rural atmosphere will draw attention,” Mr Aicken said. The company’s chairman Lachie Johnstone who moved to Pukekohe a year ago said he’s been cornered on the question of when Farmlands would come to town. “I’m often asked and it’s great that the timing is right to enter the market and take advantage of the hugely diverse range of potential customers. “It’s the nature of Farmlands business that sets us apart and being able to belong to the company and share in the rebates is major draw card,” he said. The new purpose built store, on a Harris Street site, next to Pak ‘n’ Save is planned to open in November with four staff. It is expected to have 500 new shareholder members within a year. Farmlands is also aiming to attract new customers who are not “farming” through promoting its co-operative benefits and membership opportunities, Mr Newland said. “The backbone of our co-operative structure is strongly built on our rural shareholder base but our doors are open to everyone. You certainly don’t have to be a farmer to join us,” he said
Franklin, which represents just over half the number of farming properties in the Auckland Region, has one of New Zealand’s most diverse range of farming enterprises from major dairying, sheep and beef units to market gardens and a growing number of lifestyle blocks.
In the Franklin District Pukekohe also has the highest number of businesses as potential agencies for Farmlands’ charge card ‘Farmacard’ which members can use buy their electricity, phone, fuel, insurance, groceries and liquor.
Six Hawke’s Bay Farmers established Farmlands in 1962 to gain more competitive prices and better access to farm supplies.
Today Farmlands has a record 18,000 members, and 200 staff. It has an annual sales turnover of more than $260 million and is ranked as one of New Zealand’s top 100 companies.
Becoming a shareholder in Farmlands involves a one-off and fully refundable $550 investment. Anyone can join Farmlands including people living in town as well as schools, community organisations and local authorities.
have to be a shareholder to shop at a Farmlands