Supa Valu - first retail grocery group

The Davids wholesale operation put together the first professionally organised voluntary retail grocery group in NSW. It involved Supa Valu and Foodland, and introduced the first retail services program for independent retailers. Davids later became Metcash, the buying group that operates the majority of IGA stores in Australia.

Davids originated in a small chain of grocery stores. The first was opened by Joe David in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, in 1927. As he opened more stores, David also opened a wholesale warehouse in Redfern. The wholesale operation became the basis of his business, supplying other independent retailers. When the large retailers, Coles and Woolworths, moved into food, Davids developed a retail services program to help  smaller grocery stores  compete by banding together for purchasing and marketing.

In 1988, Davids introduced the IGA brand to Australia. IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance and is the American brand was franchised for Australia. IGA stores are owned individually and constitute the largest retail grocery group in Australia.

Shares in the family company were tightly held until 1998, when the South African company Metro Cash & Carry succeeded in buying more than 78 per cent of the company. As a result of the change in ownership, the company name was changed to Metcash in 2000.   In November 2005, Metcash acquired Foodland Associated Limited. All Foodland stores, as well as most Action, Dewson and Supa Valu stores were rebranded as IGA.

An echo of the Supa Value brand remains in the SupaIGA stores. The majority of these (78 as at 2019) trade as Richies Supa IGA. Other brands that have been subsumed into the IGA retail grocery group include:

  • Bi-Lo (WA only)
  • Farmer Jacks (WA only)
  • Newmart (WA only)
  • Festival (large stores) (1992-1999) (except in Tasmania)
  • Welcome Mart (medium-sized stores)
  • Foodtown
  • Shop-Rite – Trading name of IGA stores prior to 2000 and again in 2005 in the ACT
  • Rainbow Supermarkets
  • Tuckerbag
  • Jewel Food Stores – food barn discount supermarket
  • Clancys – independent convenience supermarkets in New South Wales.