Woolies to open new Melbourne DC in fresh push

Woolworths' Mulgrave DC.

Woolworths’ Mulgrave DC.

Woolworths has unveiled plans to develop a new multi-million-dollar fresh distribution centre that it says will deliver more and better-quality products to Victorian customers.

The move comes amid Woolies’ efforts to improve its fresh food offer in a bid to increase its share of the increasingly competitive category.

The new custom-built distribution centre will be located in Trugania in Melbourne’s western suburbs alongside Woolworths MeatCo. and will replace current operations in Mulgrave.

It is slated to open in late 2020, which will then see the Mulgrave site repurposed to support the Melbourne National Distribution Centre.

Woolworths chief supply chain officer Paul Graham said the new facility would deliver better products to customers.

“The Melbourne Fresh Distribution Centre is designed to have state-of-the-art refrigeration to ensure the quality and freshness of our produce,” he said.

“Co-location with the Woolworths MeatCo and proximity to produce markets will provide us with opportunities to improve how we deliver fresher, faster and more efficiently to our stores in Victoria. This helps us deliver on our fresh food commitment to our customers.”

Woolworths has managed to increase its share of Australia’s $40 billion fresh food market in recent years and is looking to further extend its presence in the market, having identified the category as a key growth vertical.

Independent grocers are predicted to be the big losers as major chains increasingly weigh into the market, using scale to achieve lower prices and faster supply chain processes to offer better quality produce.

Woolworths is also investing in its online distribution, opening two new customer fulfilment centers in the third quarter to bolster its growing online presence.

On Tuesday Woolworths said that staff at its Mulgrave DC would be consulted with on potential redeployment elsewhere in the Group.

“Although the move is more than two years away, we understand this is a major change for our team members at Mulgrave and we are committed to supporting everyone through it,” Graham said.

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