Woolworths v Bunnings
A WAR is set to break out in Rockhampton.
As the national grocery price battle rages between Woolworths and Wesfarmers' Coles, the former is preparing to pull out new artillery in the city to take on Wesfarmers on the home improvement front.
The supermarket giant has joined forces with US company Lowes in a bid to open 150 new home improvement stores in Australia over the next five years.
One is proposed to go up in Rockhampton just 1km from the existing Wesfarmers-owned Bunnings store.
The $30 million store is proposed to be built on vacant land between CQUniversity and Super A-Mart Discount Furniture and Bedding. It would provide between 130 and 150 jobs, as well as 186 jobs during construction.
The store will be about 200 metres from existing residential areas, and the proposal suggests that noise management strategies be put in place to not disturb residents.
The application suggests that waste collection, deliveries and forklift activities would only be carried out between 7am and 6pm.
The application is now in the “have your say” stage, meaning it is open for the public to view and comment on.
If approved, Woolworths spokesman Simon Berger said it was hoped the store would open next year.
“We have only just lodged the proposal and there is a detailed planning process to go through yet, but if all goes well it's possible we could be open in late 2012,” Mr Berger said.
And Woolworths is preparing to come out with guns blazing.
Not only would the store sell hardware products, akin to Bunnings, it would offer whitegoods and include a restaurant.
The store would span about 13,200 square metres including a main retail area, a trade area and a semi-enclosed nursery.
“The stores will have around 40,000 products and focus on home improvement, not just hardware,” Mr Berger said.
Woolworths' battle plan also includes longer opening hours, opening for an extra six hours over the weekend, and half an hour longer on week days.
If approved the development will incorporate a further three showrooms available for other retail tenancies.
The store also has the magic touch of US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, with Lowes hardware stores being the world's second largest home improvement retailer in the world and Oprah's store of choice.
River Rose Drive, which is part of the existing Forest Park Estate, would be extended to provide a complete link between Yaamba Road and Norman Road.
The new store is planned to go on the corner of the River Park and Yaamba roads, and a new set of traffic lights would be put up at the intersection.
The name for the store is being heavily guarded by Woolworths in order to preserve some element of surprise, but southern media have speculated it could be called Masters.
The first of the stores are expected to open later this year, with 34 planned for Queensland in the next five years.