Wednesday, November 16, 2005  

Nov and Dec letters to coles

For the Attention of:
Roy Bridges & Melissa O’Neill

Yep, another Oatley resident with issues.

I could talk about how poorly we've been served by our council officers but that’s of little concern to you.
I could talk about traffic issues and my opinion of the certainty of accidents between vehicles and pedestrians but that’s just my speculative opinion.
I could talk about the Land & Environment court fiasco, considering the judge was unaware of the actual current use of the site but again that’s our problem not yours.

And I really mean it. I don't blame you for not becoming too involved in these issues when they are clearly not of your making nor is there anything you can do about them.

What I do want to mention to you, and possibly to your shareholders, is the concept of the 'lifetime value of a customer'.
If you're not across this, it's a way of valuing the total profit you would receive from a customer from their first transaction to their last over a period of time. It helps to know this when considering marketing budgets and how much is prudent to spend on acquiring and then holding a customer. It's about brand loyalty and the profits generated over time.

To my point. My family have been Coles customers for years, across four generations of market segment. That's good lifetime value from your marketing expense point of view. I remember very fondly our trips as kids to the Coles cafeteria when we were shopping in George Street in Sydney with my Grandmother. And then more recently brief stop-overs there with my own kids who are now nearly grown up. I know they enjoyed the experience of the dodgy food and weird ladies who worked there as much as we did. They may even have been tempted to introduce their future children to this bizarre right of passage if such a cafeteria still existed.

Except that they won't. They won't because our family, from Grandparents to little kids, won't be a Coles customer any more. And we won't be because Coles will have broken the trust in the relationship.

Actually we've already gone. Two weeks ago my wife and I were at the shopping centre at Riverwood (scary) to pick up a cake from Michels Bakery for a birthday. We decided to stop for a coffee. While we were sitting we realised that the Saturday morning shoppers seemed to be slow off the mark and that now would be a good time to get the supermarket shopping done. We looked at the Coles entry, looked at each other, and said, no.

Our kids have also said no, as have their Grand parents. We are no longer Coles customers and I wonder what that might be worth over a few generations. No weekly supermarket trolly's full, no lower priced brand store purchases (say BiLo), no cases of drink purchases, Christmas after Christmas, from any discount liquor stores. Not for as long as we continue to drive by a Coles sign that is not less than 100 metres from out front door.

You can consider the brand loyalty gone.

And you might have to re-think the marketing cost to re-acquire a lost customer. (I'm sure your own marketing people can give you the multiple of how hard it is to get a 'lost' customer back. Scary)

We may have been a good investment in the past, but the equation is now all one way. You can spend and spend and spend, but we won't.

The lifetime value of these few customers is now really easy to calculate. Nil.
We may of course not be alone, and we few may even talk badly about how we feel we've been treated as customers. Your marketing people can give you the numbers on how many people we are likely to talk badly about you too, but usually a minimum of ten. And then they talk. It could and up a reasonable size pyramid of people questioning their loyalty to Coles. And why wouldn't they? You will have made a major contribution to ruining the place where these families live.

But what if you decided to do the right thing by your customers. Ask your marketing people how many times we're likely to say nice things about Coles, but it's usually.. oh bugger it, you do the homework!

Do we really have to be this long winded about it to get you to see any kind of reason.

Either reason to do the right thing because it's simply the right thing, or reason because losing brand loyalty faithfully created by others over years is not only marketing criminal but financially stupid.


Thats the sound of the ball landing in your court.

See you at Woolies.
Tim Eaton

I write to you on behalf of my family who have lived in Oatley for some 30 years and in the St George area from birth.

Firstly we are not members of the Oatley committee against the development but we do support them as we are feeling very effected by the proposals. We live in Oatley West because of it's quiet location and as you can see by the background photo (coutesy Google earth), Oatley West does not suffer with any major road system in the area and is bordered by the Georges river and Oatley Park to it's South & West. We are known as the "garden suburb" of the Cronulla line and up to now have not been threatened by the gross urban developments that the current State Government is allowing to creep into life in Sydney.

It seems that the Coles organisation has been lured into the current unfortunate situation by the greedy developer who wants to change our way of life. He appears to be a typical hungry developer who seeks to change others way of life in an area that he does not know and does not live in. His development will not affect his family other than increasing their wealth.

If Coles proceeds into this development, like most others in Oatley West, our family will not be future customers of the company. This decision has been already taken throughout our family (we have 5 adult children all with families).
John & Rosemary Weidemier

Hi all,
I just wanted to voice my thanks for your continuing fight against Coles and the over development in Mulga Rd. We have today sent an email to Coles and will follow up with a phone call as well.
Maintain the Rage,
Anne and Malcolm Thompson

Dear Mr Bridges and Ms O’Neill,

We are writing to you to voice our concern as a local resident in Oatley of the impact of the proposed location of a Coles supermarket in Mulga Road, Oatley.

I am sure you have had numerous concerns outlined to you in relation to this proposal, however in this short note I would like to focus on just three key points. We also declare we have no commercial interests whatsoever in the outcome of this proposal – we are simply residents seeking to preserve the neighborhood environment which we enjoy today. Are key objections are threefold:

1) Neighbourhood character - A supermarket of the proposed size is completely out of line with any other development within Oatley West. It is completely disproportionate to the current local community atmosphere of the local shops.

2) The noise and traffic caused by trucks servicing the shopping centre will be excessive for such a quiet suburban area. Of particular concern is any traffic movement whatsoever outside of normal business hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday either due to trucks or cars attending the supermarket.

3) There is simply no compelling reason to introduce a supermarket in the area. We are currently very well serviced with a small supermarket in Oatley, numerous local shops in both Oatley West and Oatley, and large Coles supermarkets in Hurstville, Riverwood, Roselands and Hurstville South. The supermarket will add no value to the community whatsoever – it will only detract from the current pleasant residential precinct.

As a resident it is difficult to understand how a proposal such as this which is so completely out of character with the area can ever have got this far. One only needs to visit Mulga road and the surrounding area to understand how completely out of character this development is.

I implore you to put yourself in our shoes, consider your own local situation and imagine whether you would be taking the same stance as the vast majority of Oatley residents. Now put yourselves in Coles shoes – can you afford the clear community backlash that will result if Coles does proceed as the base tenant for this development. As a major Coles customer across Coles supermarket, Myer, Kmart and Target, where we estimate we spend in excess of $20,000 annually, we know we would not be alone in significantly changing our purchasing behaviour not just in relation to this local development but more broadly all Colesmyer stores as the community feels so strongly about this issue.

Please do not hesitate to contact Anne or myself if you would like to discuss our concerns in detail.

Kind regards,
Anne and Malcolm Thompson
Melissa O'Neill
Corporate Affairs Manager
CML Supermarkets
800 Toorak Road
Tooranga VIC 3146

Mr Roy Bridges
NSW State Manager,
Coles Supermarkets
62 Hume Hwy
Chullora NSW 2190

25 November 2005

Dear Roy and Melissa,

I refer my letter dated 15 November 2005 where I raised a number of concerns regarding the proposed Coles supermarket development for Mulga Road Oatley.

I have just read your response to the Oatley Residents Against Overdevelopment (OROA) that was sent to them on the 16 November 2005. I would like to respond to some items that are raised.

1. Traffic Management.
I cannot understand how Coles expects truck drivers to sit and wait patiently in another suburb if the loading dock is unavailable. In the past couple of years there have been numerous stories in the paper about truck drivers taking drugs and falsifying log books in order to get job done in time.1 Coles have been publicly slammed for having a definite ‘hands off’ approach with regards to the management of their trucks and truck drivers.2 Coles outsources its transport management3, how do you expect the store manager of the Oatley Store to have any control over a truck driver that does not even work for the same company as they do?

As discussed in my previous letter, coming from Randwick, I had to wait numerous times when I was in Coogee while the large Coles truck delivered supplies to the Coles Metro there – some times at 10pm at night!

2. Neighbourhood Character.
As you have correctly noted, this is a matter for the developer. Clearly a supermarket of 2100 square meters is out of character with the rest of the shops that are approx 70-100 square metres. This is not just a matter for the developer, Coles can CHOOSE NOT TO LEASE THE SITE.

3. Loss of Amenity
If the Coles at Oatley has been carefully designed to align with the needs to of the community, Coles would not be leasing the development. Your own market research shows that the majority of the residents do not approve of the development. Last night I attended a community meeting where the community resolved to boycott the store if it did open.

4. Safety
Any increase in the traffic volumes on the roads of Oatley will have an adverse impact on the safety of residents and children in the area. That is a given, the more traffic you have in an area, the greater the chance of an accident. The only way that Coles can improve the safety in the area is by NOT LEASING THE SITE.

5. Lack of Community Voice
Coles own market research shows that the majority of residents in Oatley do not want this development. The development may have complied with the development controls when the development was lodged, but these development controls have since changed, because of the amount of pressure put on the council by the residents. If no-one in the community wants the development – why is it happening?
Even other shareholders at the Coles AGM where shocked that Coles was going against the wishes of a community and opening a supermarket.4


Kym Coleman


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? eXTReMe Tracker