Woolworths to adopt unit pricing at all stores within twelve months

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 3rd November 2008

Woolworths has launched a roll-out of unit pricing at their 780 stores, making them the first national retailer to display both the actual and unit price on their labels.

Aldi, which only operates in Australia’s eastern states, and Franklins, which is based in NSW, were the first to add the unit price (price per kilogram or litre) to their labels.

Woolworths general manager of supermarkets, James Aylen, reported that they made their final commitment after a successful trial period, with eight of their stores already updated. With over 12 million new labels to be introduced across 19,000 items, Mr Aylen suggests it could take about a year before their stores are completely up-to-date with unit pricing.

Unit pricing will soon become mandatory in Australian supermarkets following the Grocery Price Inquiry, after which the ACCC recommended the adoption of the scheme.

The Rudd Government is currently trying to determine the most effective way to implement national unit pricing legislation, amidst concern that compliance costs may put unnecessary strain on small business. The Queensland Government also introduced draft unit pricing legislation in September, which caused panic amongst some retailers, fearful of conflicting laws.

The nation’s second largest supermarket chain, Coles, has reported they will support unit pricing and announced a $10 million commitment in May to introduce the scheme at some stage in the following 12 months.

“Coles supports the introduction of unit pricing and believes unit pricing will benefit customers wishing to compare prices between pack sizes and brands,” the supermarket chain said in its submission to a federal government review of the best way to implement unit pricing.