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Planned product choice cut

Coles has discussed plans to reduce the number of products available on its supermarket shelves by up to 30% in a dramatic move to boost its profits.

Group CEO, Ian McLeod, said yesterday the greatly reduced variety of choice was already being trialled in six Melbourne stores to see how shoppers reacted.

If successful, a second trial in other stores would occur, followed by the scheme’s introduction nationally.

Coles is also likely to cut the number of weekly discounts and catalogue promotions it offers shoppers and to increase the number of private or own-label products it sells by up to 20%.

At present, an average Australian supermarket carries 20,000 lines.

The changes are aimed at lifting the profits of Coles, which was sold to the Perth-based conglomerate Wesfarmers late last year.

It is not known which categories – such as dairy, frozen food, canned vegetables or toiletries – would have their range cut.

“Early results are encouraging … it shows just how over-ranged we are in certain segments,” said McLeod.

He said the company was conducting a trial to ensure “we don’t make national mistakes” that could trigger a mass defection by shoppers to rival stores.

Coles generally stocks a wider range of products than its main rival, Woolworths.

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