Happy New Year and welcome to 2014!
Hopefully we’re seeing the end of the global financial crisis at long last and 2014 will be a prosperous year for all of us. For us at The Trusts, the greater the profit we make, the more we can give back to the West Auckland community – our owners to whom we owe responsible trading, an even more valuable asset and as much giving back as possible.
This year we will push forward with our store refurbishments which are transforming the liquor retailing scene in West Auckland. West Liquor is our biggest new type of store, offering an excellent range of products while the Village Wine and Spirits stores are fewer in number but are able to specialise in various ways.
As we have said many times, we are spending more than $5 million on the renewal of our stores, and the new style was built around the research we did in our community. These are your businesses, we surveyed West Aucklander’s and the resulting stores are delivering what you asked for. It was gratifying at the end of last year to get survey results that show a whopping 92% of you approve what we have done with West Liquor. It proves that we listen to what you, our owners, want from us.
This year we are doing even more in two areas in particular; price perceptions and staff training. I said price perceptions. We have an excellent range of choice and price options, our prices across the entire product range mean that we offer very competitive value for money and our specials are as good or better than any (responsible) competitor’s. Nevertheless, the perception remains among some people that we’re more expensive than competitors, and we plan to change that. We want West Aucklanders to be able to know, as a given, that they can buy as well or better at West Liquor or Village Wine and Spirits, as from anyone and we will be doing everything we can this year to add value to your purchasing experience.
I keep using the word responsible for a reason. Our community has voted to keep Licensing Trusts because you want liquor sold and used responsibly in West Auckland. So, we’re not going to engage in price wars or irresponsible pricing. We’ll sell at a fair price and we’ll special fairly, but we’ll not use excessively low prices as an inducement to get people to drink, or drink more. That sort of pricing leads to social harm and we won’t go there.
Another priority for us this year will be even more staff training. We’re already among the best in the business, indeed in the world, for staff engagement and training but we’re going to do even more in the year to come. That’s exciting for us as a company and exciting for our staff, most of whom join us looking for a career, not a job, and welcome all the professional training they can get.
So, the economy is poised to improve and we’re poised to capitalise on the efficiency we created over the last year. It should be an excellent year for you and for us; for the West Auckland we all know and love.