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For sighted users, a website looks no different whether it is accessible or not, but users with visual disabilities know all too soon when they are unable to use it. Coles home page screenshot

Oh the irony! Retailers blind to discrimination and lost business

A blind woman has launched a claim of unlawful discrimination against Coles and its online website. For those of us who are totally blind and working in the disability law space this lawsuit is no surprise…
Lidl: will Australian shoppers line up for another discount grocery chain? Robert Wallace/Flickr

A Lidl bit of grocery competition could cause a Coles rethink

Australian shoppers have inadvertently invited global discount grocers to our shores by demonstrating their readiness to adopt private labels. In 2001, German discounter Aldi opened its first store in…
The corporate regulator has gone after Coles for unconscionable conduct against smaller suppliers. AAP/Paul Miller

ACCC signals strategic change in battle with supermarkets

The corporate regulator’s ongoing battle with the major supermarket chains took an interesting twist on Monday when it alleged that Coles had engaged in unconscionable conduct against various small suppliers…
Chain of responsibility laws mean all parties involved in the supply chain can be held responsible for infringements such as speed, fatigue, and heavy or unrestrained loads. Dan Peled/AAP

Pushing it up the chain: Why big business can’t ignore truck safety

Meeting corporate obligations along the supply chain is not just good practice - when it comes to workers' safety, it’s the law. This came sharply into focus last week as raids and prosecutions of transport…
A new grocery code of conduct provides new rules for a sector subject to price wars, but will not solve all market problems. Lukas Coch/AAP

Coles and Woolworths code useful, but beware disputes

Coles, Woolworths and the Food and Grocery Council have released a draft industry code of conduct to help govern their relationships with suppliers. The code will be “voluntary” under section 51AE of the…
Coles is believed to have applied for an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution licence, which would allow it to take deposits. AAP

Mortgage price check in aisle four as Coles banks on future

The news that Coles may be seeking a banking licence would, if confirmed, put the supermarket group and its parent company Wesfarmers in direct competition with Australia’s major banks. It would allow…
Legally, it would be extremely difficult to prove shopper docket fuel discounts are anti-competitive. Michael Welsh via Flickr

Are shopper dockets anti-competitive? Good luck proving it

A curious feature of the election campaign to date has been the lack of focus on competition and consumer policy. Generally this subject rates highly, as parties try to curry favour with consumers and…
Is Bob Katter exaggerating when he says Coles and Woolworths own 80% of the groceries market? APH

FactCheck: do Coles and Woolies control 80% of the market?

“The Americans are screaming blue murder because WalMart and their competitor have now reached about 23% market share. Here we have two supermarkets with a market share of over 80%, so if they decide to…
Consumers want cheap meat from happy animals - can farmers and supermarkets keep up? David Mitchell

Coles are the piggy in the middle of animal welfare confrontation

Last week, Coles supermarkets began selling shopping bags on behalf of animal rights campaigners Animal Australia. Following a backlash from farmers, Animals Australia withdrew the bags. But the stoush…
Coles' ten-year deal with farmers' cooperative Murray Goulburn will have significant consequences for the dairy industry. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Coles' milk deal gives supermarket suppliers a reason to be sour

Earlier this month, Coles and Murray Goulburn announced a ten-year deal that is likely to have significant consequences for the dairy industry, as well as Australia’s grocery sector more broadly. Starting…
A dramatic decrease in the availability of sow stall pork and caged eggs has been driven by consumer concern. AAP

It’s no yolk: grocery giants commit to animal welfare initiatives

Australia’s two largest grocery retailers, Coles and Woolworths, have vowed to dramatically decrease the availability of pork and egg products sourced from intensive farming systems. The decision was made…
Proving that Woolworths and Coles engaged in unconscionable conduct with their suppliers will be a lengthy and difficult task for the ACCC. AAP

ACCC grocery inquiry will take a long time to bear fruit

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has declared open season on Coles and Woolworths. In an unusual step, the ACCC’s chairman, Rod Sims, discussed his organisation’s current investigations…
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 www.shuttershock.com

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…

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