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The ACCC has put suppliers’ claims of supermarket bullying under the spotlight, but the magnitude of the duopoly’s supermarket power should also be addressed. Image from

ACCC’s inquiry into supermarket bullying misses the real issue of duopoly power

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced last week that it is investigating claims that Coles and Woolworths are bullying suppliers. The issue is serious, but the ACCC investigation…
Market share: Two companies in Australia control more than half of the country’s bread and bakery business. Flickr/looseends

Confronting corporate power in the food system

The Federal Government’s current national food plan process is heavily dominated by business interests. It is built on flawed assumptions that the market can provide the solutions that our broken food…
Coles has revamped its loyalty rewards program in an attempt to win over shoppers from Woolworths. AAP

Can Coles (Fly) buy shopper loyalty?

Consumers are becoming less loyal as they put more focus on getting the best possible deal, and become more willing to shop around to get it. In response, retailers have turned to loyalty programs in an…
Is the “waterbed effect” - where manufacturers attempt to recoup discounts given to large retailers by raising prices for smaller competitors - an issue in Australia? AAP

Who suffers when retailers exercise their market muscle?

When a major retailer uses its countervailing power (or “market muscle”) to negotiate better terms from suppliers, should policy makers be concerned? In Australia, the debate has focused on dairy farmers…
Pharmacy retailing is the last frontier for large supermarket chains. Flickr

Is pharmacy the final frontier for supermarkets?

Australia’s two major supermarket retailers, Coles and Woolworths, already have vested interests in fuel, convenience, liquor, hardware, hotels, apparel, general merchandise and technology. While they…
Coles is among a number of companies that have misjudged social media campaigns. AAP/Alan Porrit

Fishing for compliments: a dangerous marketing strategy

My central problem with branded clothing is my reluctance to actually be branded. Why on earth would I pay to advertise someone? When a Kiwi can make a motza from auctioning her buttock flesh to a strip…
We take for granted cheap and plentiful fruit and vegetables and “forget” about shortages. AAP

The hidden price of discounting fresh fruit and vegetables

How should we consider the potential broader ramifications of Coles’ recent promise to reduce by 50% the price of fresh fruit and vegetables? In the face of cheap fruit and vegetables, it is hard to take…
Curtis Stone and Normie Rowe in a Coles ad that has attracted the ire of a fake Chopper Read.

Chopper Read, Coles and Twitter: going down and staying down?

It is a very 21st century story. A Twitter account purporting to be that of noted Australian criminal Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read takes offence to an ad featuring ageing singer Normie Rowe and uses his…
The debate around Coles and Woolworths’ home-brand products has been far too simplistic. AAP

House-brand push boils down to capitalism’s crisis

Global food giant Heinz has made a bit of a fuss about the growth of private-label or in-house brands in our major supermarkets. William Johnson, executive chairman, CEO and president of the $US16.4 billion…
Homebrand labels have more than 25% of market share in Australia: but do consumers really benefit? AAP.

Nudged towards homebrand by our supermarkets; but is it really a choice?

International food giant Heinz has recently again complained about the behaviour of Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths, complaining the Australian retailers’ homebrand strategy is creating an…
The real cost of the alcohol price war is the damage heavy drinking does to public health and the social fabric. Rick Audet

Health the casualty of Coles and Woolies alcohol price war

In recent days, Woolworths and Coles have put out a flurry of media releases, each staking a claim to being the cheapest place to buy alcohol this summer. Coles have “declared war” on liquor prices and…
The budget shopper is alive and well - but what of the “ethical” shopper? AAP/Woolworths

We are what we eat: the demise of the ethical grocery shopper

In 1954, American consumer behaviour academic, Gregory Stone identified four different types of consumers. Consisting of 150 in-depth interviews, Stone’s research found there was an “economic” shopper…

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