Australian wholesale grocer Metcash has decided to split the running of its supermarket operations from its convenience stores, reversing a move taken just last year to merge the two together.

Metcash's supermarket arm will be run separately from its convenience store business. Both supply to around 3,100 stores across Australia

"To provide a greater turnaround platform for our supermarkets business and optimise the growth opportunities identified in the convenience channel, we have decided that the Metcash food and grocery pillar will be run in two divisions, each led by a separate CEO," Ian Morrice, Metcash's group CEO, said.

In January 2012, Metcash brough the two sides of the business with a new executive role, food and grocery COO, to, it said, "protect and develop" the country's independent food retail sector. Silvestro Morabito, head of its IGA Distribution grocery wholesale arm, was given the position.

Morabito's position will be phased out and he will leave the business later this month. Morrice said: "He has been leading food and grocery through a very challenging trading period battling the issues of price deflation and intensified competition."

Fergus Collins, CEO of alcohol retailing arm ALM will take on the role of CEO of Metcash's supermarkets arm. The new CEO Convenience will be appointed "in the near future", Metcash said.

Scott Marshall, general manager of merchandise and marketing at ALM, will take over the role of CEO at ALM.

Last month, Metcash reported a "modest" increase in half-year sales. Metcash said reported revenue rose 4.9% to A$6.64bn. Reported profit after tax, which strips out the impact of discontinued operations and other one-off items, rose 20.6% to A$98.9m in the six-month period.