Supermarket duopoly gone too far

Australian shoppers say the Coles and Woolworths duopoly has gone too far.

Supermarket duopoly gone too far

Australian shoppers feel they are losing on price and variety in supermarkets. A survey conducted on behalf of independent grocery retailers by Master Grocers Australia (MGA) found that 72 per cent of survey respondents believe that the duopoly of Coles and Woolworths has gone too far.

Around 75 per cent of respondents believe that more competition is needed to boost the $88 billion grocery market, and tougher laws are a necessary part of that. Only 22 per cent believe the competition between current supermarkets is “healthy”.

An overwhelming majority (80 per cent) of respondents also said that it was “very” or “fairly” important for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to have legal power to enforce its charter, including ensuring competitive price behaviours.

Currently, Woolworths and Coles-owned Wesfarmers account for almost 80 percent of supermarket sales, 60 per cent of alcohol retail, 50 percent of petrol retail and 40 per cent of all retail in Australia. This high market share puts the supermarket giants in a dominant position over their suppliers and smaller independent retailers. MGA chief executive Jos de Bruin said this was a result of the existing competition laws.

Mr de Bruin said, “This survey shows a large majority of people believe there is something wrong with this state of affairs…They are concerned that they are the losers in terms of price and they want much more choice and variety.”

The survey came ahead of yesterday’s release of the Harper Review, in which the Government promised to take on changes to Australia's competition law and to curb the major supermarkets' power with an “effects test”, which would prevent large companies from misusing their market power.

ALDI, the next largest supermarket chain, controls more than 215 stores in Australia, with 80 per cent of its products being made in Australia. However, the German-owned company has faced criticsms over its use of sweatshop labour, worker exploitation and issues with palm oil supply. 

Read more at SMH.

Read more at Shop Ethical

What do you think? Would you like to see more competition when it comes to Aussie supermarkets or are you happy with the pricing and variety currently available?


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    1st Apr 2015
    Coles and Woolworths are not just supermarkets. They are in fuel, insurance, hardware, etc etc, and they cross subsidise to push others out of the market, take over competition, bank land, and screw down suppliers.

    How is this good for our economy?
    1st Apr 2015
    well its Not !! But its Good for theirs !! :-)
    1st Apr 2015
    Our local Pub doesn't sell Groceries !! I'm a bit Peed off about that !! :-(
    Coachman on the box
    1st Apr 2015
    A lot of the behaviour by these retailers is illegal in more advanced societies than Australia. We are being abused and taken for mugs in this country and we deserve it because we're not complaining long and loud enough. Basically we just don't seem to bloody care that we're 50 years behind the times in so much that passes for 'modern' Australia. It would be funny if it weren't so serious.
    1st Apr 2015
    I searched hard and found an Independent Green Grocer, but was so annoyed that He didn't have a Petrol Bowser out the Front !! :-(
    Chris B T
    1st Apr 2015
    Highlights how weak the ACCC is.
    The dominance of Coles & Woolworths on the stock exchange, there attitude is get square or get out of the way.
    The Indenpendents & small retaillers can't compete. The lip service of we will look into it.
    Nothing ever comes of it. The fines don't reflect the communities & business outrage if there happened to be a ruling infavour.
    1st Apr 2015
    This duopoly has already caused the demise of hundreds of business and thousands of products. I have contacted many suppliers when I have been unable to find their previously stocked products and the reply is always the same : Woolworths and/or Coles stopped selling it, so we have had to cease production. As many of these products are for special dietary needs, it is a double whammy for those who need them. The IGA chain sometimes picks up lines which the Big Two no longer stock, but in the main it means the demise of these specialty products. We must encourage small businesses to keep producing products which are: usually local not imported, often cater for specific dietary needs and are often tastier and healthier than those produced by multinationals.
    2nd Apr 2015
    Oh Coachman on the box..ever so true what you say..we don't complain long and loud..we are so content to go on as we are without giving a's the "bloody Aussie way".."she'll be right mate"..that's the shame of it all..we don't join in unison and do anything about it..I raised a Petition and received more signatures on a US site than here in Aus..
    9th Apr 2015
    My dream would be a foods hop that sells only Australia ,but so much has been flogged off to foreign parts I doubt we have enough local products to stock a broom cupboard,It is a national disgrace that this has been allowed ,,,,indeed encouraged by successive governments , and still they continue to sell off whatever
    9th Apr 2015
    I feel disgusted with the Coles/Woolworths duopoly and have given them both the flick. My local Coles no longer sells many Australian products like Arnotts savoury biscuits for example. Everywhere they are pushing their own brands. I now shop in IGA which sells many Australian and locally produced goods. Also shop in Aldi which I like. Would encourage everyone who is fed up with the Coles and Woolies duopoly to vote with your feet. They are destroying Aussie businesses, cheating farmers and limiting our consumer choices.

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