By Aimee Chanthadavong

Coles will implement a new system on how products in its stores are handled and promoted by the end of the year.

Individual brands and suppliers have traditionally hired their own merchandising agents to handle and promote their products, including restocking products, issuing new price tags and negotiating special promotion, in the supermarket.

But Coles has signed a new deal with marketing services company Crossmark and AMC to help to provide these merchandising services.

“We are doing this to reduce disruption in our stores and provide a better and lower cost service to our suppliers,” a Coles spokesperson said.

“We have chosen Crossmark and AMC because of their ability to service large and small suppliers, their national coverage, expertise and strong IT infrastructure.”

Coles is still currently negotiating contracts with Crossmark and AMC over the rebate that will be paid to the supermarket company. However, Coles noted that it will invest any money it receives back into “Improving availability for customers which will include additional opportunities for field service providers working with us”.

As for existing suppliers, Coles said they can continue working with their current field reps assuring they will still get the same access to the stores as they currently have.

But for those who suppliers who decide not to hire Crossmark and AMC, their merchandising agents will have to undertake an accreditation course from February next year.