Foodstuffs pauses amid supermarket flurry

HANK SCHOUTEN
Last updated 10:26 20/11/2012
Pak n Save Petone

COUNTDOWN: The big new Petone Countdown store under construction across the road from the Pak'nSave store in Jackson St.

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The Foodstuffs supermarket chain has pushed the pause button on further Wellington supermarket development plans while it reassesses the market.

Retail development manager Marty Price said the review - to be completed by the end of the year - would look at pockets in the Wellington market where there was untapped potential customer spending.

The study comes amid a flurry of new supermarket building activity in the region.

Foodstuffs has opened a redeveloped former Woolworths in Tawa and opened a New World in Newlands. Replacement stores are set to open in Silverstream and Whitby next year, and a Kapiti New World is also scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

Rival chain Progressive Enterprises is striving to take a bigger share of the Wellington grocery market with its own big development programme.

A new Countdown is due to open in Newtown in a couple of weeks. Work is now well under way on other big new stores in Petone and Tawa which are scheduled to open next year and the Johnsonville Countdown is also being refurbished.

Foodstuffs has been planning further moves as well as being involved in some big property deals that appear, at least in part, to be aimed at frustrating its opposition.

The amount of land available for the Newtown Countdown on the corner of Adelaide Rd and John St was restricted when Foodstuffs bought up the adjoining old Tip Top bakery site.

After complaints from locals that the derelict buildings were being vandalised, Foodstuffs applied for a resource consent to start demolition but it has not yet disclosed its plans for the site.

A planned redevelopment of Progressive's Crofton Downs Countdown in Churchill Dr has also been cramped by Foodstuffs' purchase of the neighbouring Exclusive Brethren property. Foodstuffs might ultimately use this site for a new store once the church moves out but its plans have not yet been spelt out.

It also has other major development sites in Wellington. The biggest is a large block just across the road from the Basin Reserve in Rugby St, a kilometre from the Newtown Countdown.

The site has been cleared but construction has not yet started.

It also has a site in Ghuznee St, where an earthquake-risk building was demolished to make way for a proposed New World Metro store with apartments on top.

Plans were unveiled and the supermarket was to have opened by March but work has been delayed. Developer and architect Mike Cole said plans were being redrawn to enlarge the supermarket and work might start next year with the store opening in mid-2014.

Price said Foodstuffs were still looking at the financial feasibility of different development options. "We are doing a reassessment of the Wellington and region market."'

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- The Dominion Post

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