15 Nov 2011

Countdown brand change deemed a success

7:37 am on 15 November 2011

The operator of Countdown supermarkets says changing to one brand and expanding the products on offer has helped it attract more customers.

Progressive, which is owned by Australian retail giant Woolworths, is spending $1 billion opening new stores, rebranding its existing supermarkets to Countdown and refurbishing.

Progressive managing director Dave Chambers says all its 157 supermarkets are now Countdowns and 65% have been refurbished with a new layout and focus on fresh food.

Mr Chambers says the change has paid off, with a slight increase in sales and market share - although rival Foodstuffs still holds the majority.

Consumer confidence has been changeable but Mr Chambers says he expects Countdown to ring in the sales over the Christmas trading period.

Mr Chambers says the company plans to open five new Countdown supermarkets in New Zealand before the middle of next year.

He says the stores in Auckland City, Kerikeri, Palmerston North, Rolleston and Rangiora will add another 660 jobs.