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Foodstuffs’ Grocers Vote For Historic Merger

The proposed merger of Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island into one New Zealand-wide co-op has received the overwhelming support of the grocery store owners who are the co-ops’ shareholders.

In November 2023, the Boards of both co-ops proposed the merger, saying it must deliver meaningful benefits for customers, Members, teams, suppliers and communities.

On 04 June 2024, in a historic moment for the 100-year-old, 100% NZ-owned co-ops, Members voted strongly in favour of a merger. It means the merger can go ahead, subject to Commerce Commission and High Court approval.

CEO-designate of the proposed national Foodstuffs co-op Chris Quin welcomed the result, which is a major milestone in the merger process.

“This is a great day for our co-ops. New Zealanders want us to deliver more value and innovation. We’re up for this, and as one national co-op, we can do this faster and better,” says Quin.

“We have to challenge every aspect of our business model to be as efficient as we can, because our number one job is delivering great prices at the checkout. It’s the right time after the significant changes over the past four years to make sure we’re doing the best for New Zealanders.”

The two co-ops already share strong values and trusted brands, including PAK’nSAVE, New World, Four Square, and its own brand, Pams as well as Raeward Fresh and On the Spot in the South Island. The co-ops also have wholesale brands in Gilmours (North Island) and Trents (South Island).

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“It’s been a lot of work to get to this point. We had to make sure it was the right thing to do for our co-ops and our customers,” says Quin.

“There’s still more to be done, as the Commerce Commission clearance process is ongoing. We continue to engage constructively with the Commission.

“The merger would change how we’re governed and how we support our stores – reducing the complexity, duplication, and cost of running two co-ops.

“Importantly for customers, the merger won’t change the number of stores or distribution centres, their local grocer owners, our trusted brands, or the fact our 500+ stores are 100% proudly New Zealand owned, and all profits are returned to New Zealanders.

“That’s a great thing for New Zealand as too few of our key industries remain New Zealand owned, and we’re up against Australasian and global competitors.”

“The merger would see us operating as one national business, like most major New Zealand companies in a market of this size do. It’s more efficient, and it just makes sense.”

“We welcome competition and hope the New Zealand business environment enables more, but let’s not lose sight of the importance of a strong, well run, wholly New Zealand-owned and operated co-operative in the mix and what that means for our communities, country and economy.

“Our two co-ops are opening stores in New Zealand’s main streets, investing millions of dollars every year in new supermarkets in towns like Wairoa, Taumarunui, and Te Mata. That matters to our local owner-operators who are on the shop floor, serving customers and communities,” says Quin.

Chair-designate Russell McKenzie, who’s a Christchurch supermarket owner-operator himself, says getting Members’ support is significant.

“The merger is driven by an ambitious goal for the future – to become the best grocery co-op in the world, owned by the best local grocery retailers and wholesalers, delivering the best experience and value to New Zealanders. We're confident we can achieve that together.

“Our Members strongly support that goal, and agree that a merger is the best way we can keep serving our local communities for decades to come,” says McKenzie.

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