Incoming Coles MD flags fresh food, liquor focus

Goyder says Wesfarmers will evaluate opportunities for value adding deals, Durkan eyes liquor turnaround.

Incoming Coles managing director John Durkan has given the first indications of his vision for the retail giant, including a "customer-led" turnaround of the under-performing liquor division and a push for further growth in fresh food sales.

Speaking at a Wesfarmers (WES) strategy briefing, Mr Durkan, currently Coles' chief operating officer and due to replace Coles managing director Ian McLeod from July 1, said he would also move to simplify and improve Coles' supply chain. 

Mr McLeod is transitioning to a senior role within the wider Wesfarmers Group.

Mr Durkan said Coles' share of fresh food still lags its dry groceries and that he would focus on narrowing the gap on quality, range and service inconsistencies.

He also noted increasing cost pressures on the business and flagged a focus on simplifying operations.

Addressing the briefing before Mr Durkan, Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder said growth in Wesfarmers' retail businesses would be supported by continued improvements in customer value and offer, range and category innovation.

He noted that the group would continue to evaluate opportunities for value adding transactions.

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