IGA boss calls for early federal election

IGA boss calls for early federal election

04-Jul-2013
THE outgoing chief executive of grocery wholesaler Metcash has called for new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to call an early election.


Andrew Reitzer, who is handing over to Ian Morrice on Monday after 15 years in the top job, says consumer confidence needs to be restored, with items struggling to sell unless there are specials.


"Every time there is an election campaign, the consumer loses heart," he told ABC Television.


"So my wish and I'm sure it's the wish of every businessman, is to get stability, stability in policies, and to get over the election, whichever way it goes, as quickly as possible.


"That will be very healthy for Australia and our industry within that."


Mr Reitzer, whose Metcash group owns supermarket chains IGA and Franklins along with the Mitre 10 hardware business, predicts a weakening Australian dollar will prompt supermarkets to sell more generic brands.


"You won't see the inflation pressure but the brands will disappear and be replaced by cheaper house brands," he said.


He downplayed a suggestion that supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths were abusing their market positions.


"I don't know that profiteering is the right word but they make healthy margins, as do Metcash," he said, adding Australia had healthy price competition in milk and bread.


Mr Reitzer said Australia did not have an oversupply of stores and lamented a two-year legal stoush with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over the acquisition of Franklins.


"The business deteriorated a lot and the bottom line is we closed more stores than we thought and we've got to get over that," he said.


Retailers are also struggling with higher labour costs, the carbon tax and lower selling prices amid "our third year of deflation", he added.

For the original article from PerthNow click here.