THE redevelopment of the Summer Centre including the opening of a Dan Murphy’s discount liquor outlet will bring the sort of fierce competition to the local market which retailers in other towns and cities have already had to deal with.
It is the sort of competition which independent hardware stores faced from national hardware chains and convenience stores faced from supermarkets long before that.
It is like the threat to traditional retailing now coming from online shopping.
Like it or not, it is the face of retailing in this day and age and it brings benefits as well as costs.
Consumers will undoubtedly see downward pressure on liquor prices but they will also enjoy greater choice and convenience when the entire Summer Centre reopens.
Along with the opening of Woolworths at north Orange and the introduction of liquor sales at Aldi, the reopening of the Summer Centre with a new supermarket means every retailer in groceries and liquor will have to be on their toes.
The test will be how existing outlets adapt to competition on the scale Dan Murphy’s brings.
Those who have done their homework will know that when the discount giant opened in Bathurst the impact on its competitors was dramatic.
What they must not forget is that they have strengths too, and local connections which Dan Murphy’s does not.
Location, convenience and service are strengths of most of them, but above all most have long connections with the community through years of sponsorship of sporting clubs.
It would be naive to think that a new competitor in the market won’t affect the turnover of its competitors but it would be overly pessimistic to think years of financial support for local sporting organisations will count for nought.
Like the wine producers of Orange who value their brand and are constantly searching for their point of difference in the hugely competitive Australian wine market, existing liquor outlets in Orange will have to refocus on what sets them apart.