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Rural Retailer Farmlands wants slice of $85-million Taranaki Market

Farmlands Trading Society is expanding into Taranaki to capture a share of the region’s estimated $85 million-plus rural retail market. Farmlands Chief Executive John Newland announced today that the co-operative would open a new purpose-built store in Stratford in December. Farmlands expects the store to become a multi-million business, owned and supported by local members.

“Farmers based in Taranaki have told us they would welcome fresh competition in the rural retail sector and favour co-operative ownership,” Mr Newland said.

“They have enjoyed their own co-operatives in the past, but according to our research, are now feeling more distant from the merged national dairy co-operative and another former co-op.

“On this basis they welcome a new co-operative player which is already supported by 16,000 members who trust their company is working to deliver them best deal on farm supply costs

“Farmlands is making a serious investment in the Taranaki region and is committed to growing the business from a small base. To do this we need to provide superior service and value to our new Taranaki members and customers,” he said. Taranaki continues Farmlands expansion westward. It also gives Farmlands a stronger presence in North Island regions where dairy farming is a predominant land use.

“This move further strengthens Farmlands business by diversifying from our East coast origins and into a balanced range of land uses,” he said.

Stratford, which represents about a fifth of farmers in the Taranaki region, has the highest concentration of dairy farms. It is a central location, also servicing sheep and beef farms.

Work on building the new store will begin within a month. The store will have four staff and Farmlands expects to have 500 members by the end of the year.

The Taranaki move, on the back of three other major store developments in Wanganui, Otaki and Napier, and its launch of New Zealand’s first retail chain of specialist pet nutrition products, shows the difficult farming year is not hindering Farmlands’ progress.

Mr Newland said when times were tough, farmers wanted to support companies, which were working for them and they trusted the co-operative structure.

Having experienced two rural recessions, Farmlands understands how to read the market and the time is right to expand and invest for the future, he said.

“There is no point waiting for the next lift in farming and not being ready for it,” he said.

Background

Six Hawke’s Bay Farmers established Farmlands in 1962 to gain cheaper access to farm supplies.

Today Farmlands has a record 16,000 members, 27 stores throughout the North Island and 200 staff. It has an annual sales turnover of more than 280-million and is ranked as one of New Zealand’s top 100 companies.

Through the company’s charge card “Farmacard” members can also pay for their electricity, phone, fuel, insurance, groceries and liquor.

Joining Farmlands involves a $550 investment and membership is now open to everyone, including people living in town as well as schools, community organisations and local authorities.

You don't have to be a member to shop at a Farmlands store.




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