Australian retail group Coles Myer has announced a major rebranding and the launch of a new business structure.

The company will be renamed Coles Group Limited, which will comprise of three business units: Target, Officeworks and the supermarkets business which is being rebranded under the umbrella brand Coles. The change of the company name remains subject to shareholder approval at the November AGM.

Coles Myer said it planned to invest some A$850m (US$650.5m) in developing “more and better” stores in the 2007 fiscal year. In addition, the company said it plans to spend A$60m improving the customer experience in its supermarkets, with initiatives such as more customer service, new trolleys and cleaner and brighter decor. It also plans to boost investment in its Target and Officeworks chains.

CEO John Fletcher said the new simpler business model would allow the company to drive sales and earnings growth.

“We have spent the last nine months researching our customers, team members, suppliers and the world’s best retailers to ensure there is overlap between our current and next strategic direction,” Fletcher said. “During this time it has become clear that two key themes – customer intimacy and simplification – will drive future growth, enabling us to direct additional resources and focus to engaging our customers with better service, more convenience, and better products and rewards.”

Fletcher said the new group name reflected a business which had already begun the process of simplification, with the sale of Myer enabling greater focus on its ‘everyday needs’ businesses, while the restructuring of the supermarkets division had removed duplication and management layers.

“With our turnaround programme now complete, and transformation well underway, we are now ready to take our next strategic steps,” he said.

With regard to the Coles supermarket operation, the company said it planned to provide better service in stores, more convenience through an expanded range of tailored store formats, new product ranges tuned to customers’ local needs, and enhanced rewards for loyal customers.

The company said it planned over time to unify its Coles Supermarkets, Bi-Lo, Coles Myer Liquor Group, Coles Express and Kmart under the Coles umbrella brand. However, full integration would not take place for at least 12 months, the company said.

Coles Myer said its guidance for the full 2006 fiscal year of net profit after tax of A$785m not including the sale of Myer remained unchanged. The profit on the Myer sale is expected to be approximately A$600m.