Businessman Dick Smith is shutting down his eponymous food brand and has blamed the rapid rise of Aldi supermarkets in Australia.
Dick Smith Foods will be wound down over 12 months after almost two decades in business and $480 million in retail sales.
“It’s terrible on a personal level,” Mr Smith, 74, told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
Holding back tears he added: “I’ve failed, I’ve failed.”
Mr Smith, in a letter to the heads of Coles and Woolworths, said “the driving force of our closure … is Aldi”.
The former adventurer accused the German supermarket business of prioritising profits at the expense of Australian farmers and employees.
Dick Smith Foods has 13 products with suppliers in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. The company directly employs three staff.
The brand is currently profitable, Mr Smith said, but he argued it wouldn’t survive beyond the next two years.
In his five-page open letter to Coles and Woolworths, Mr Smith thanked the local industry giants for their support and issued a warning.
“The Aldi concept is ruthlessly astute and it is clear that unless your companies move towards this system you will very likely become uncompetitive.”
In response, Aldi Australia stated the company proudly supported an Australian-first buying policy and had shared its growth with more than 1000 local suppliers and 11,500 Australian employees.
“As a privately owned business we have never sought to ‘maximise’ profits at the cost of something or someone else,” Chief Executive Tom Daunt said in a statement.
“Rather, we opt for long-term sustainable growth strategies.”
Mr Daunt said Aldi was proud to have influenced the entire grocery sector “which has led to price deflation benefiting all Australian shoppers”.