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Our Policy: New Zealand's Lowest Food Prices
|Headquarters||Wellington, New Zealand|
Number of locations
Founded in 1985, Pak'nSave was the last of the three major New Zealand supermarkets (the other two are Countdown and New World) to be founded. As of March 2013, there are 50 Pak'nSave stores operating across the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
Pak'nSave's key policy is to provide everyday food and groceries at low prices which they state in their current slogan (as of March 2013) ‘Our Policy: NZ’s Lowest Food Prices‘. Stores are large and have a no-frills environment, often with unlined interiors and concrete floors. Customers are also asked to pack their own bags, and charged for plastic bags in most stores. Many stores offer boxes set on or under a large desk where customers can pack their groceries for easier convenience.
Pak'nSave was developed as a result of a trip by a number of Foodstuffs executives to the United States in 1985. On that visit they saw Cub Foods, operated by SuperValu, Pak'n Save operated by Safeway, and a number of other box warehouse supermarkets. Foodstuffs then copied this format in the New Zealand market. The original Pak'nSave format was almost an identical clone of Safeway's Pak 'N' Save chain in Northern California.
The first Pak'nSave opened in 1985, at Kaitaia in the North Island, and the South Island in 1988 at Invercargill. The biggest Pak'nSave is Lincoln North Pak'nSave in Auckland, which opened in 2004. Stores were opened in the Auckland suburb Mt Wellington in early August 2006 in the new Sylvia Park shopping mall, and on 5 December 2006 in Hawera. On 19 March 2013, Pak'nSave opened in Blenheim, bringing the number of Pak'nSave stores to 10 in the South Island. However, Pak'nSave's national coverage is still haphazard – of the 34 major urban areas in New Zealand (i.e. population over 10,000), there are ten that do not have a Pak'nSave supermarket: Cambridge, Tokoroa, Feilding, Levin, Greymouth, Rangiora, Ashburton, Oamaru, Queenstown and Gore.
As of March 2013, there are 50 Pak'nSave stores across New Zealand. Stores are often located in suburban areas, and are usually open until at least 10 pm, although some notable exceptions include Pukekohe and Timaru, which close at 9 pm while Sylvia Park, most Wellington and all Christchurch stores close at 11pm.
The name probably originates from the cost-saving practice of requiring that customers pack their own groceries, with checkout operators simply placing the products purchased back into a second trolley. Pak'nSave provides the cardboard boxes used for shipping products to the store, or plastic supermarket bags can be purchased at the checkout for 10 cents. Customers are encouraged to purchase longer-lasting bags or to bring their own.
The stores are laid out as supermarket aisles, but with minimalistic design, and often perpendicular to the checkout lanes rather than the traditional parallel found in other New Zealand supermarkets and retailers. Extra products that are not on shelves are stacked above the shelves on the pallets they were delivered in. meaning that the floor space can be used for retail and storage. The stores are supplied daily from their co-operative distributor Foodstuffs.
Pak'nSave stores often buys stock in bulk. This process means that stores don't offer a wide variety of brands and pack sizes as full-service supermarkets, with products often restricted to market leaders and store brands. A 2009 Consumer magazine survey noticed the lack of range especially in the pet food and toilet paper categories.
Most stores have self checkout and some have self scanning facilities. Self-checkout facilities are small checkout for express (15 items or less) purchases, where customers scan and bag their own groceries, with several self-checkouts monitored over by a single staff member for assistance and to clear any restricted transactions (e.g. alcohol). Self-scanning facilities (Shop n' Go) are where a pre-registered customer scans each item with a hand-held scanner as they put them in their trolley. This reduces waiting time at the checkout, with most customers only requiring to pay for the groceries, although random rescans do take place. All stores have conventional checkout operator scanning available.
In the annual Consumer magazine survey of supermarket prices, Pak'nSave has been named the country's cheapest supermarket (either unanimously or by majority of centres surveyed) in all eleven surveys since the current survey methodology was adopted in 2003. The latest survey was conducted in May 2013, which was based on the purchase of forty common products, including food, non-alcoholic drinks, personal care and cleaning items (but excluding meat, fresh fruit and vegetables due to quality comparison issues and alcohol due to local licencing rules and heavy discounting practises). In the survey, Pak'nSave was named cheapest in six of the seven centres surveyed (north Auckland, south-east Auckland, Tauranga, Napier-Hastings, Christchurch and Dunedin), and was named second-cheapest in the remaining centre (Wellington) behind Countdown.
Pak'nSave also came out the cheapest supermarkets in the 2001 and 2002 Consumer magazine surveys. These surveys were paper surveys where prices on 140 items were recorded by surveyors visiting the supermarket and recording the shelf prices. However, the method was prone to supermarkets cheating by temporarily marking down shelf prices while the surveyor was in store, and the method was scrapped in 2003. Since then, the survey is conducted on only forty items, purchased by undercover surveyors through the checkouts and the prices taken from the till receipt, with the food purchased donated to local food banks.
Pak'nSave is well known for its "cut price" television and print adverts utilising a Stickman, nicknamed "Stickman", in black on a yellow background (occasionally, the colour scheme is reversed, including during the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the 2012 Summer Olympics). The television adverts are voiced by comedian Paul Ego.
In 2011, the Stickman adverts were one of the finalists for Best Ad in the annual Fair Go Ad Awards, but ultimately lost (by landslide) to the New Zealand Lotteries Commission's "Wilson the Dog" adverts.
Pak'nSave offers fuel discounts to shoppers for spending a qualifying amount on shopping. Pak'nSave stores with on-site Pak'nSave fuel filling stations offer vouchers to use at these stations. The Pak'nSave fuel vouchers are unique in that they can only be used at the fuel site associated with the store of purchase, whereas all other New Zealand supermarkets' fuel discount vouchers operate at any participating station across the country. Stores without on-site Pak'nSave fuel filling stations offer vouchers for use at Mobil service stations (before January 2013, the vouchers were accepted at Mobil instead). Competition for fuel discounts has grown in the past few years, with cases of offering discounts of 50 cents per litre to customers when they spend at least $400 in store. The standard fuel price at the Pak'nSave pump can often be higher than that of neighbouring service stations, thereby partially negating the Pak'nSave discount.
- "Our History | Foodstuffs". Foodstuffs. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Vass, Beck (11 September 2009). "Where to find the cheapest groceries". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
- "Cheapest supermarket in the country revealed". The New Zealand Herald. 5 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Dearnaley, Matthew (5 September 2003). "Grocers scramble after 'skulduggery' in survey". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Comedians freestyle through laughs". The Southland Times (via Stuff.co.nz). 29 November 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- "Fair Go ad awards - 26 October". Television New Zealand. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012.