Australian supermarket chain Coles is set to plunder the UK retail scene again in a fresh bid to attract new talent Down Under.

Operations director Stuart Machin, a Brit who worked for Asda, Sains­bury's and Tesco before moving to Coles, was in London this week interviewing candidates for management positions in Australia.

"We are prepared to provide appropriate remuneration packages to secure the right talent," said Machin. He added that Coles - which operates 702 stores - was looking for store managers, operations managers and merchandising managers.

In 2008 MD Ian McLeod - another Brit and an Asda veteran - joined the company. Former Asda chief executive Archie Norman is an adviser to conglomerate Wesfarmers, which bought Coles in 2007 for AU$22bn (£10.6bn). Other senior members of the Coles team who cut their teeth in the UK include merchandise director John Durkan, formerly of Safeway and the Carphone Warehouse; and marketing director Joe Blundell, who has experience at Kellogg's, Asda and Shell.

"Coles has sought the best retailing talent to work in Australia - and the best retail talent resides in the UK," said Machin. "We are looking for people with retail experience, not just grocery as retail skills apply in many sectors."

This week Coles unveiled sales growth of 6% to AU$5.3bn (£2.6bn) in the quarter to 21 March 2009.

Machin said progress had been made in improving Coles since it was bought by Wesfarmers but admitted there was "hard work to be done to achieve our aspirations". Coles is in the first stage of a five-year program to overhaul various areas of the business.

Machin added that just like the UK the recession had prompted Australians to eat at home more.

"We are responding to that trend with a focus on low-cost family meals and an improved private-label range offering value and quality for money," he said.