Thomas Oakley-Newell from C&I NZ chats with Louise Mitchell, Senior Category Manager, NPD, about the businesses highlights of 2021 and outlook for the year ahead.

C&I: What were the highlights for NPD in 2021?

Mitchell: The NPD network has grown rapidly over the past few years – a highlight being our launch into the North Island market in 2021. We started our North Island expansion with four premium Self-Serve sites located in Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, and Palmerston North. And recently we opened a fifth site in Pukekohe.

We have continued to grow our South Island network with new sites opening and older sites being refurbished. We now have more than 95 sites throughout the country with more planned in the future.

The continued development of our NPD Refresh retail offering and café experience has been another highlight for 2021. Our Refresh Café sites have been architecturally designed with customers in mind, they’re light, bright, and spacious. We have also made significant investment in high end cooking equipment to ensure we are delivering top-quality product.

When visiting an NPD Refresh Café, our customers can enjoy delicious barista made coffee or a selection of tasty treats from our extensive range. We offer forecourt service to ensure our customers are being looked after as soon as they arrive, as well as clean, modern facilities. What really sets us apart is our signature range of café products – our delicious chicken, real fruit ice creams and burgers, which are all freshly prepared on site.

With an increase in demand for convenience shopping during lockdown, we have expanded our retail offering to allow our customers to grab essential items while fuelling up. We are a customer centric business, and we are extremely proud to have been ranked number one for customer satisfaction in the Canstar Blue awards on multiple occasions.

Strong supplier relationships are something we pride ourselves in, so it was great to be recognised for our high standards of in-store execution for the last few consecutive years at the NZACS awards.

C&I: What were the major challenges and how were they overcome?

Mitchell: The New Zealand fuel industry was not exempt to the impact of Covid-19. Through the challenges and uncertainty NPD Ltd was able to experience continued growth.

To be able to achieve growth among the challenges presented by the global pandemic is something we are incredibly proud of and is a testament of our strong company culture and dedicated team.

As a family-owned, Nelson-based fuel retailer, we have been careful to retain strong family values throughout our expansion. We have a reputation built on catering for customer needs and our profits are re-invested into development and local communities.

C&I: What will be the key focus for NPD in 2022?

Mitchell: Our launch into the North Island is in its early stages. We have the goal to open a further 32 sites in the North Island over the next three or so years. We currently have sites in the design and consent process and are actively seeking high-profile sites for development.

We also plan to introduce our retail offering and Refresh Café to the North Island in the near future.

Innovation has always been a key focus for NPD as we have looked to grow our network. All our site designs, systems and infrastructure utilise the latest technology and equipment to create an excellent and efficient forecourt experience. In 2018 we brought 100plus high performance petrol to the market. This is New Zealand’s highest octane road legal petrol product to be offered from an established fuel retail network.

We have applied our innovative thinking to develop our own unique range of chicken products. Southern Crunch chicken is proving to be incredibly popular. It is only available at selected retail outlets at present but will be rolled out to new sites over the months to come.

The fuel industry is fast paced, dynamic and ever changing and we have no doubt there will be more challenges ahead but with a strong a company culture and commitment to meeting our customer’s needs we are confident we can achieve our future goals.

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