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Analysis and Comment (26)

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…
Masters has hit problems securing good sites for its stores. Dave Hunt/AAP

Masters has machismo but needs Aldi smarts

When Woolworths delivered its half-year results in February, the numbers for its Masters hardware chain were sobering. On sales of A$393 million, Masters, a joint venture between Woolworths and US company…
The original Woolworth Company dates back to 1878. Dominic Alves/Flickr

Which Woolies is that?

The bid for David Jones from South African retailer Woolworths brings to light one curious dimension of international business - the proliferation of firms with very similar brand names but distinct identities…
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…
Australian companies have done little to expand overseas, preferring the lucrative home market. AAP/Damian Shaw

Successful Australian exports: where the bloody hell are they?

Australia’s major banking, retail and manufacturing brands are often regarded as less interested in the aggressive overseas expansion being pursued by market leaders in other countries. Some have tried…
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…
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…
Stuck in Botany Bay: Greenpeace activists celebrate the Danish government’s decision to halt Orica’s plans to ship toxic waste to Denmark. AAP

Beyond the bottom line: how to reward executives for sustainable practice

Are sustainability-dependent executive bonuses the answer to saving the planet? Research recently conducted by the Centre for Corporate Governance at the University of Technology, Sydney, examined whether…
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…
Consumers are making the switch to online retailers, and stores such as Dick Smith Electronics are paying the price. AAP

Store bores: pulling the plug on consumer electronics

Retailers: be careful what you underestimate. Whether it’s the competition, the consumer or the channel to market, if the writing is on the wall - you’d better read it. Globally, the consumer electronics…
Dick Smith has been vocal about Woolworths selling his former electronics business - but his arguments don’t stack up. AAP

No place for jingoism in Woolies' sell-off of Dick Smith

Entrepreneur Dick Smith has been very vocal in the past few days about the prospect of his namesake retail business falling into “foreign hands”. Despite him selling the electronics chain to Woolworths…
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…
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…
Woolworths' Masters chain is set to challenge Bunnings' market dominance. Flickr/beeep

Can Woolworths master the tools of Bunnings' trade?

Woolworths has unveiled details of its plan to launch an assault on the $42 billion Australian hardware and home improvement market with its Masters store brand, raising the prospect of a new chapter in…