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22 March 2006

Organic Market

Meet a man with plans for a new kind of food store.


LUISA SACCOTELLI: This is a new type of food store. It's organic but on a large-scale format, a bit like a supermarket. What it may become is a category killer - not that there's much of one yet - less than 20 cents out of every $100 spent in an Australian supermarket goes on organic food, but signs are that that could be about to change.

PIERS CODY: I like to watch trends. I'm a serial entrepreneur, I guess. I was looking for the next new thing and this came along.
I was travelling quite a lot overseas and saw a company over there called Fresh And Wild. If you just walk in, the engagement with the shopping experience was much higher than you would see people like drones running around a supermarket.

LUISA SACCOTELLI: Before he turned to retail, Piers Cody was in media, having built up Cody Outdoor Signs into a big money-spinner.

PIERS CODY: I would drive around with a dictaphone in my hand. As I would see the side of a building or a roof, I'd dictate, you know, "corner of whatever", get back and do a title search and away we go. We grew to approximately 600-odd signs turning over about $60 million. It was a very nice business.

LUISA SACCOTELLI: Then Cody sold out to O'Reilly's APN. Handsomely rewarded, he bought an organics shop in Bondi.
The offering has been refined with a second Sydney store and days ago, a third in Melbourne.

PIERS CODY: So this is it, here we go, the stage is ready. The only mistakes that can be made now are our own. We've got great friends here. Friends that I've had for many years...
We are food retailing but we are not a supermarket. We don't ever want to feel like a supermarket. Our people are not supermarket employees, and we're taking it forward to a greater marketplace. We could see 30, 40, 50 stores, pretty good, large-size format. The cafe is the soft opener, it's the first point of contact with what we do, and then you go into the supermarket within the store. As well as then another key part of our offering is the naturopathy area. We have yoga and massage, Pilates, et cetera. It's quite an unusual offering.

LUISA SACCOTELLI: And expensive to set up. So far, Cody and his partner, Sydneysider Brett Blundy, have sunk $20 million into the Macro concept.
Staff costs are also three times the percentage of turnover as a normal supermarket. But the returns on investment are also much higher - the two Sydney stores turn over a combined $20 million a year on the back of profit margins higher than the few per cent managed by the supermarkets.

PIERS CODY: You have to spend to get the infrastructure set and the return on it is very good. Turnover per metre, if that's some guide, we do very nicely, but we have to work it hard.


story notes

 trends
 
A trend is a change in the way people are behaving or the things that are popular.

 serial entrepreneur
 
The adjective serial means occurring in a series. A series is a set of similar or related events that occur one after another. And an entrepreneur is a person who has an idea to start a new business - they organise it and take all the risk for it. Cody says he’s a serial entrepreneur. That is, he starts one new business and then another, and another.

 money-spinner
 
A money-spinner is something that makes a lot of money.
 
Example: Football is a real money-spinner.
 
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

 grew
 
Grew is the past tense of the irregular verb grow. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
 
more information: grow

 sold out
 
Here, sold out. means that he sold the entire business.
 
For more meanings of the phrasal verb sell out, follow the link below to our language library.
 
more information: sell out

 bought
 
Here bought is the past tense of the irregular verb buy. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
 
more information: buy

 made
 
Here made is the past participle of the irregular verb make. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
 
more information: make

 staff
 
Staff are the people who work for a business or organisation.

 returns
 
Here, return refers to the profit from an investment. An investment is money or time put into something in order to make a profit.

 on the back of
 
On the back of means soon after the success of and because of.

 profit margins
 
Profit margin refers to the total amount of money made after costs are subtracted.

 infrastructure
 
Infrastructure refers to the basic structures of a system. They’re the structures necessary for it to operate.