Independent grocery and convenience wholesaler Metcash has hit back with new category marketing plans and strong results from its Price Match program at its Investor Update, after newspaper reports suggested it’s coming under fierce price competition from discounter Aldi (also from its South Australia/Western Australia move), Coles, Woolworths, and competition from independent distributors.

According to reports, retail analysts stated that expansionist distributors such as grocery and convenience wholesalers are pushing into Metcash’s confectionery and drinks market and new territories, with Metcash having to defend its market share and buying power with large suppliers.

Reports said that Hollier Dicksons was expanding its grocery range into new categories such as pet food and lines that Metcash didn’t carry, with opportunities to make direct deals with larger Supa IGA chains.

At its investor presentation, Metcash outlined its IGA Price Match strategy, compelling fresh offer and new “Shopper Led Way” of continuous category management. The Price Match program, now in 900 stores out of 1,455 independents it supplies, previously posted retail sales up 15% on proprietary Price Match lines.

Metcash, which reported that its Convenience division sales grew by 11.3% in 2014-15 to $1.6 billion, said that the petrol & convenience market was worth $8.0 billion in sales and growing, while wholesale distribution was worth $5.0 billion.

Metcash said it would provide a total solution including multiple weekly deliveries, shortened order-to-delivery times and fulfilment solutions.

“Growth is driven by changing consumer habits in convenience, food and beverage growth is driven by breakfast, lunch and snacking missions, in a fragmented market outside of integrated operators,” Metcash said.

Campbells would shift focus to food service, house brands and B2B digital, while C-store distribution would extend its network reach and focus on growth categories.

CSD’s key area of focus would be meal solutions by rolling out a value add fresh offering, expanding fresh logistics capability, and leveraging product development from its supermarkets business.

This story first appeared in Convenience and Impulse Retailing.