Adds details on planned cost cuts, CEO quote
June 18 (Reuters) - Coles Group Ltd COL.AX, Australia's second-biggest grocery chain, on Tuesday unveiled a plan to cut A$1 billion ($685.40 million) in costs over the next four years, as it looked to technology to offset rising labour and energy costs.
In its first major strategy update since its demerger from Wesfarmers Ltd WES.AXlast year, Coles said it planned to automate manual tasks and reduce duplication to tackle rising costs.
The supermarket sector is grappling with intense competition as sales and margins get squeezed by cautious consumers and rising costs while economic growth slows in Australia.
"Stores catering to value-focused customers will have a simplified range focused on essential items and self-service," Chief Executive Steven Cain said in a statement.
($1 = 1.4590 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru Editing by Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang)
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