Coles and Woolies not dominating market, ACCC claims


ACCC chairman says dominance of Woolworths and Coles in the grocery market is not as strong as thought

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Graeme Samuel has signalled that the dominance of Woolworths and Coles in the grocery market is not as strong as initially thought.

He also claims the supermarket giants are not responsible for the rise in the food prices over the last 18 months.

Speaking at the National Retail Forum in Melbourne yesterday, Samuel says concern that the "big two" are running away with the market is unnecessary.

"I understand concerns about the growth of big businesses, but some commentators should take a Bex and have a lie down when it comes to the activities of major supermarkets," Samuel says.

"The facts and figures tell a different story. Food prices have been rising faster than general inflation across the OECD and Australia is not special in that regard.

"In fact the most recent data from the OECD shows that Australia has the 11th highest food price inflation for the year, out of 30 countries."

In total, food inflation in Australia over the last twelve moths to June 30 was 4.7 percent, compared to general inflation which was 1.5 percent.

While Samuel says he is not concerned about the influence of Coles and Woolworths, he argues it is important other outlets have room to expand.

"ALDI has recently opened its 200th store and has announced plans to expand much further, up to 700 supermarkets in due course, which would put it on a par with Coles," he says.

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