Supermarket duopoly blamed by RTA for rising prices

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd May 2008

The Retail Traders’ Association (RTA) has bemoaned the lack of competition to Coles and Woolworths as a key reason for escalating food prices. The issue has been further fuelled by the release of ABS data indicating the average family is now spending $139 a month more on groceries than last year.

Coles and Woolworths combine to have almost 80% of the market share in the grocery industry, which is a much larger share of a market than any other two supermarkets have in the western world. In the UK, for example, their top two supermarkets make up only 50% of the market, with the top four having approximately 80%. The UK Office of Fair Trading has just completed an analysis of the grocery industry in the UK following concerns about competition. Similar concerns here in Australia have led to an enquiry by the ACCC.

Scott Driscoll, spokesman for the RTA, outlined the RTA concerns about a lack of competition.

“We’ve actually experienced higher food price increases than the entire Western world,” he told the ABC.

“We’ve got to get some sort of general genuine competition back into the supermarket trade.”