The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Liquorland appoints new CEO


Brendon Lawry

Liquorland has appointed a new CEO who will be starting with the company on 1 January 2017.

Brendon Lawry, formerly a Merchandise Manager at Foodstuffs Northland, will take the reins from retiring industry legend Rob Chemaly.

“There’s no doubt it’s an interesting time in retail,” says Lawry. “There are some amazing brands doing pretty good stuff in bricks and mortar environments, while online retailing is gathering pace in every category.  What’s more, we now have customers who are better informed and demand what’s new almost before we have it on the shelves, thanks to the power of the Internet.”

As a key member of the Merchandise Leadership Team at Foodstuffs, Lawry has been instrumental in driving the success of the Wholesale Merchandise team, the New World Wine Awards and the growth of liquor in FSNI stores.

“I’m not a ‘first 90 days’ kind of guy. I’m more about being the best I can be, determining what kind of person I want to be, and putting the right things in place to be capable of delivering the right outcomes; slapping an arbitrary time on something as fundamental as your future direction can end up causing a lot of problems,” he says. “That said, life moves pretty quickly these days and we need to be nimble to get ahead of the competition.”

Lawry says that his priority is the customer, though it’s a little different at Liquorland where there are two key customers; the shopper and the franchisee. Keeping them both happy and engaged is essential to the success of the business.

“One of our points of difference rests on being a specialist where people come to us specifically for our expertise,” says Lawry.

“This relies on us helping owners and their staff up-skill on variants, the story, what goes with what and getting under the customer’s skin to ascertain what they need – which is not always the same as what they want. Get this right, show that you care and you get the sale, repeatedly.”