Metcash has hit back at the big supermarkets by hiring a former senior Coles executive to run IGA

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Former Coles senior executive Steven Cain has been appointed CEO of supermarkets as Metcash’s IGA comes under increasing pressure from the big players.

Metcash shares jumped 2.84% to $1.085 on the news.

IGA supermarkets are price pressure from Coles and Woolworths. The two major group are in turn are being targeted by German group Aldi, which has grabbed 11% of the east coast market.

Metcash last month sold its automotive business for $275 million so it can concentrate on the supermarkets business.

The company’s sales revenue increased just 1% in the first half to $6.6 billion. Underlying profit after tax fell 9% to $101.7 million.

Cain says: “I look forward to working with the supermarkets team, suppliers and independent retailers to provide a more compelling customer offer in what is an increasingly competitive environment,” he says.

He has considerable food retail and business experience, locally and internationally, from roles with Coles, Asda (UK), Pacific Equity Partners and ITV (UK).

Cain was group managing director with responsibility for Coles Supermarkets, Coles Central Convenience Stores and Express Petrol Stations, Coles Online, Liquorland and Vintage Cellars between 2003 and 2005.

Metcash also hired former Woolworths executive Mark Hewlett as Executive General Manager.

Hewlett spent the last three years leading the convenience business development for Woolworths.

Before Woolworths he spent 12 years in the UK with German discounters Lidl and Aldi in senior retail, buying and format development roles.

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