Coles customers furious at store change - but what's really happening?

Customers have expressed their rage at products in their local Coles being reorganised - but they may soon change their tune when they learn what the supermarket giant has planned.

A frustrated north Sydney shopper took to Facebook this week to ask why the Coles store at Asquith is being reorganised amid a pandemic.

“Can you please tell me why our local store, Asquith, NSW, has moved all the stock in the store?” asked the woman.

She added: “I know this happens occasionally, and people slowly get used to the new layout".

"But, at a time when we are supposed to be limiting the time we shop, many locals are complaining about spending so much longer in the store as they can't find the items on their lists.”

Coles storefront at twilight. Source: Getty Images
Coles has responded to a customer complaint about their store in Asquith, NSW. Source: Getty Images

Several customers echoed the shopper’s concerns in the comments, saying that the changes forced them to spend “twice as long” in the store as they had previously.

“I thought exactly the same thing. Went in for four items and it took me about four times longer than usual. Not an ideal time to redo the layout,” said one annoyed shopper.

“Definitely not the right time for change,” wrote another.

However, one shopper suggested that perhaps the changes were in fact a makeover, which is right on the money.

Coles Asquith joins a number of stores which have recently undergone a sustainably-focused facelift, including supermarkets in Camberwell and Moonee Ponds in Melbourne.

Store getting a Coles Local revamp

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that their Asquith store in North Sydney is currently undergoing a revamp, which is why customers have noticed stock moving around the store.

"We are currently refurbishing Coles Asquith to provide an even better shopping experience for our customers," said the spokesperson.

Shoppers can refill detergent and soap containers at the packageless Surf and Omo refill station. Source: Coles Group
Asquith joins stores in Moonee Ponds and Camberwell which recently underwent a revamp. Source: Coles Group.

“Over coming weeks we will be installing a brand-new deli and an expanded bakery where our team will make fresh bread from scratch,” they added.

“The upgraded store will also include features piloted in our award-winning Coles Local stores such as a mochi dessert bar, squeeze-your-own juice machine, scoop-and-weigh pet treat bar, and an expanded range of fresh convenience meals.”

“We thank Coles Asquith customers for their patience while we work to transform their store.”

Shoppers annoyed by stock being relocated during pandemic

Meanwhile, another annoyed Sydney customer shared her frustrations on Facebook, also questioning why the supermarket would move stock around during the ongoing pandemic.

“Why on Earth would Coles decide to rearrange the whole supermarket and move everything around in the middle of a pandemic?!” wrote the annoyed shopper.

Coles store with people lining up in front of it. Source: Getty Images
Coles shoppers have questioned why stock would be rearranged during a pandemic. Source: Getty Images

“We want to go in and out quickly and now can’t find anything and have to spend so much longer just to find regular items.

"Do you have any brains? So frustrating and annoying,” she added.

It is unclear which store the shopper was referring to, but others in the comments suggested that maybe the changes were being made to move poor-selling products from prominent spots on shelves.

Yahoo News Australia has asked Coles for a statement responding to customer complaints about rearranging products during a pandemic, but has not received a response.

‘Massive glow-up’ of Coles Camberwell Local goes viral

Coles' Camberwell Local store recently made headlines when a video of the sustainable store went viral on TikTok.

In the 29-second TikTok video, posted by @agreekable, the excited shopper walks users through the sustainable supermarket, which is complete with self-serve produce, frozen fruit, freshly ground coffee, a candy bar, Laurent bakery, 120 kinds of cheese and refill stations for body and home care products.

The video, captioned: “Very sustainable focused revamp!”, gained national attention from impressed customers, saying they “loved” the new line of supermarkets and wished “they existed everywhere”.

Coles Local supermarket in Camberwell, Melbourne. Source: TikTok/@agreekable.
An excited shopper gave users an inside look at the revamped Coles Local supermarket in Camberwell, Melbourne. Source: TikTok/@agreekable.

Head of Coles Local Michael Fahd told Yahoo News Australia that Coles Local stores are tailored specifically to the needs of customers in their local community.

"The ranges include products from speciality local growers, bakers, producers and cafes that people in the community may recognise, know and love," said Mr Fahd.

Mr Fahd added that some of the Coles Local stores incorporate innovative environmental initiatives to reduce plastic packaging and waste, such as sustainable refill and scoop-and-weigh stations.

These changes mark a significant step in sustainability for Coles, which was this week officially named Australia's most sustainable supermarket by the World Benchmarking Alliance’s (WBA) 2021 Food and Agriculture Benchmark.

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