Major chains announce billion-dollar profits

We’ve all heard how Coles and Woolies are looking after us by reducing prices.

Locked down, spring savings, prices dropped. We are constantly reminded how supermarkets are cutting prices during these tough times.

If you need any more evidence the big two supermarket chains are actually exploiting the situation, Coles announced a $1.09 billion profit yesterday, and today Woolworths announced a $1.62 billion profit.

However, in a finding that will confirm what your wallet has been telling you, Deakin University has found that while some prices dropped temporarily, prices have risen everywhere else, in some instances by an astonishing 40 per cent.

Researcher Christina Zorbas told the ABC the increases were “across the board”, including staple items such as bread, cereal and fruit.

“They [shoppers] are feeling the brunt in price rises on staple foods. For many Australians, a healthy diet is not affordable,” Dr Zorbas said.

People are going hungry

“It costs a family of four roughly $600 a fortnight to purchase a healthy diet, and that’s about one-third to a quarter of an income of someone on a low income in Australia.

“People are going hungry. It’s a serious situation out there.”

But it seems profits are paramount. As part of the announcement, Coles flagged cost increases ahead.

“We have seen further cost price inflation in produce due to recent flooding, in bakery due to wheat commodity prices, and in packaged groceries due to various supply chain cost increases including wages, packaging, raw ingredients and freight,” the profit announcement said.

Woolworths’ profit is a 4.6 per cent increase on last year.

As part of the public announcement, the chief executive, without any awareness that they may have created the problem themselves, said the outlook was “challenging”.

“We also expect the consumer environment to remain challenging with customers continuing to cut back on non-essential items looking ahead in FY24,” said chief executive Brad Banducci. 

Yes, Mr Banducci, people are cutting back because you have jacked up the prices. 

The Deakin data provided to the ABC found milk has gone up 20 per cent, eggs 10 per cent and avocados 37 per cent. Other staples such as tomatoes, (down 56 per cent), iceberg lettuce (-37 per cent) and carrots (-23 per cent) had fallen, but that was from record price hikes of up to 150 per cent.  

And don’t wait for prices to come down. A recent article in The Guardian claims climate change, high fuel and energy prices and compromised international supply chains may ’embed’ high food prices in the economy.

In good news for vegetarians, tofu prices remain stable.

This week’s best deals


Sensible: Darrell Lea Dad’s Bag, $14.99. We give this a crack every year and it goes down a treat. My cheapskate partner even likes it better if we wait until after Father’s Day and it goes down in price. That’s why I love him.

Indulgence: Chilli Addict BBQ set, $12.99. All the man products are here; chilli, barbecue, pepper, coffee, rubs and the word jerk, as in spices, of course.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Schweppes mixer range, half price $3.70. Sorry all other mixers, but Schweppes is still the best. Is it because they have more bubbles?

Indulgence: Pokemon stainless steel travel bottle and travel mug, $16 each. I love weird supermarket gift suggestions, and this must be right up there. They are also selling Nutribullets in the gift range, because nothing says ‘I love you dad’ more than a thing to squish fruit and vegetables.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Lamb roast, $10/kg. I have tried not turning into my parents, but I’m afraid I love a roast on a cold weekend. Lamb is still not matching the saleyard prices, which have tumbled to 50 per cent of what they were this time last year, but this is a start.

Indulgence: Nando’s Marinade range, $4.15 each. If you enjoy dabbling in a bit of Nando’s but can’t be bothered leaving the house, here is your answer. Just bung it on a bit of chicken and away you go. We haven’t been back to Nando’s since this range came out.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Four’N Twenty Party Pies 12 pack. Footy finals are around the corner. And if you aren’t eating party pies at your finals party, are you even having a party?

Indulgence: Croser NV varieties, $20. A great Australian sparkling wine. James Halliday gives it 93 points and that’s good enough for me. Thanks, James.

See the catalogue here.

What are you cutting back on at the supermarket? Does it help? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: We will live longer in a big Australia – and we will pay for it

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. My wife and I love creamed rice and used to buy a tin of the home brand every week at least.
    Some time ago now, I was about to put one in the trolley when I looked at the price – $1.39! Up from 99 cents the previous week! so I left it thinking I might get one next week.
    Next week came along and we were hanging out for our creamed rice so I headed for that section, found the creamed rice, and Whammo! Now it was $1.79!!! Not happy with that massive increase (70% up over 2 weeks) we now cook our own creamed rice. although it’s not an expensive item, we won’t support supermarket greed to that extent.
    And this was only the red flag that alerted me to the big grab/huge price increases being foisted on us. Our federal treasurer is fooling us if he thinks we believe inflation is only around 8%. Definitely shopping much more carefully these days

  2. Jan, why don’t you quote a few more facts rather than sensationalise a really rather mediocre profit result by Woolworths? Woolworths net profit represents around 2.5 cents per dollar of sales. Profit per dollar of sales actually went down slightly because sales increased by 5.7% but net profit by 4.6%. If you compare that to the price rises you quote, it’s quite obvious that it would simply not be possible for the retailer to absorb these increases. If you’d be happy to run a retail business on those margins why not give it a go? It would mean for each $100,000 of sales you’d make yourself a massive $2,500 profit. Attractive enough for you?
    Of course if you really think they’re profiteering you could buy Woolworths shares currently at $37.49 each and reap a handsome dividend of 58cents twice a year or around 3.09%. Perhaps putting your money in the bank at 5% looks quite attractive after all.
    Its easy enough to sensationalise sales and profit figures when they are not put into perspective but do we really want our service businesses operating on the brink? If either of our two major supermarkets did so, we’d soon end up with one main operator, what do you think that would do for prices?
    It’s the same sensational rubbish we hear about the banks but if one of them was in financial trouble making a loss you wouldn’t be able to find the end of the queue of anti-capitalist depositers making sure that it wasnt their money funding the loss.

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