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Coles has told staff at its support centre in Melbourne that it will be cutting 450 jobs, as well as making some leadership changes.

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Coles has launched a new healthy living private label brand called 'Wellness Road'.

Specialist premium healthy living range

The new Wellness Road range includes 28 products such as organic flaxseed oil, organic buckwheat kernels, tiger nut flour, organic red rice noodles with Chia and textured vegetable protein. Coles has launched the range, which has premium black and gold packaging, to give health conscious shoppers a more affordable range of nutritionally conscious products. As well as affordability, the products include specialist ingredients that are not part of the Coles range currently and will appeal to a new set of shoppers.

Private label penetration and innovation a priority

Growing private label range and penetration is part of Coles' strategic objective to transform its food offer. The retailer already has specialist healthy living ranges under the Coles Simply Less and Coles Simply Gluten Free brands, however is keen to develop this area further. At its half year results, Coles announced that it had launched 700 new private label products, with penetration of private label now at 29% of sales and product innovation a real focus.

Coles has started selling misshaped fruit and vegetables under a new range called 'I'm Perfect'.

Initially being tested in Victoria and South Australia

The new range includes 1kg bags of lemons, 2kg bags of apples, pears, onions, sweet potatoes, 2.5kg bags of carrots and 3kg bags of oranges. The I'm Perfect ranges are available at some stores in Victoria and South Australia and are priced cheaper than standard fruit and vegetables. Coles already uses unattractive fruit and vegetables in some of its private label products, such as Coleslaw and baked goods, but the new range will help it further tackle food waste. The new items will also be packaged in plastic that can be recycled

Reducing food waste is becoming more important

The new initiative will see Coles join Woolworths and Harris Farm Markets that have had similar initiatives running for a number of years. Brad Gorman, Coles' general manager of produce, commented, “Our customers know that regardless of shape, size or any small cosmetic blemishes, Coles produce is fresh and bursting with flavour. All of these products help reduce food waste and increase overall crop yields by utilising vegetable pieces that typically would not be sold at retail level."

Coles aims to ramp up its convenience strategy with improved food-to-go ranges and better targeted stores.

New ranges to tap into a AU$1bn opportunity

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Coles managing director, Steven Cain, has revealed that the retailer plans to introduce 75 new lines to its food-to-go range. It will also make changes to over 100 stores in the next six months, enabling them to stock more food-to-go and semi-prepared meals. Through the opening of new smaller formats and partnerships with the likes of UberEats, Coles clearly is putting more emphasis behind providing convenient solutions, with Cain, commenting, "We see the convenience market as being an opportunity to grow another billion in sales over the next five years."

Additonal format changes expected to be confirmed next month

The article also hints that Coles will release further plans at its strategy update next month, whereby it plans to convert around 200 stores into a more premium experience, as well as another 200 lower volume stores, to a more budget offering. Coles, alongside other Australian retailers have made improvements to store segmentation over the past few years, however sophistication and range innovation still lags other markets, providing an opportunity for both retailers and suppliers.


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This in-depth guide to Australia explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Coles. 

We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Retail Analysis the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

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