Rivals of retail giant Costco have welcomed the American's arrival saying competition is healthy, but Foodstuffs has called the powerful retailer the "new kid on the block" and referred to it "trying its luck".
Foodstuffs [Pak'nSave, New World, Four Square Gilmours, LiquorLand, Henry's], The Warehouse Group [The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming, Torpedo7] and Countdown all laid down a metaphorical red carpet.
But in a direct challenge to Costco's threat of a 25 per cent to 30 per cent discount, two all also played a nationalist and history cards: Costco's rivals reminded people that they are kiwi-owned, well-established and have been here for decades
Antionette Laird, Foodstuffs' head of external relations said: "Unlike our existing Aussie competition [Countdown] or a new kid on the block like Costco, our earnings are reinvested in the New Zealand economy, people and community."
Competition was always good for consumers and speculation had been rife in the last two years about Costco's arrival.
Auckland, in particular, had always been highly competitive with dozens of grocery brands in the market "and it comes as no surprise, in a city of more than 1.6 million people, that another global brand might want to try their luck."
Foodstuffs only invest in one market - New Zealand - and is laser-focused on making sure its supermarkets and wholesale operations meet New Zealanders' needs now and into the future.
"We regularly visit stores like Costco and Aldi to check out price and range and we're confident we can compete, particularly with Pak 'n Save," Laird said.
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Offering the best value possible to customers was front of mind for Foodstuffs' brands every day and Costco's arrival was not going to change that, she said.
"Critically, we are committed to New Zealand manufacturers, growers and suppliers, helping them innovate and thrive – as we know a strong domestic supplier community is good for both our customers and the country as a whole," she said.
New World, Pak'nSave and Four Square were "part of the fabric of the local community in one form or another since 1922 and our stores contribute each year to the local economy in terms of wages, taxes, donations, and support for local schools and charities."
But most importantly, Foodstuffs was 100 per cent committed to New Zealand.
The Warehouse Group said: "Competition is great for our customers. It keeps us on our toes and is something we welcome."
It then played the nationalism and history cards: "As a Kiwi brand that has evolved over the past 37 years, we value our Westgate customers and continue to offer products and services that we know they've come to love."
The Warehouse Group already had four brand stores at Westgate: "We provide 12,500sq m of shopping including technology, homeware, apparel, outdoor adventure and stationery, to name a few," a spokesperson said.
Kiri Hannifin, Countdown's corporate affairs general manager, said New Zealand already had a very competitive food and grocery market with new offers being added all time.
"We always welcome competition - it's good for Kiwi customers. While Kiwis love good prices, a number of other factors also influence our shopping decisions. These include a convenient and online service, a fantastic fresh offer, a great store experience, warm and friendly team and a commitment to local communities and our environment," Hannifin said.
Countdown was experiencing good momentum as its "team of 18,400 New Zealanders deliver great food at great prices along with a genuine commitment to making Kiwis' lives a little better every day," Hannifin said.