Supermarket price war moves into liquor aisle

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th November 2011

Coles Supermarket’s media campaign that it has “declared war on liquor prices” has prompted immediate retaliation by rival supermarket chain Woolworths.

Coles had announced yesterday that it has cut prices by as much as 31% on a range of beers, wines and spirits in its 1st Choice and Liquorland stores as part of a new pricing strategy.

Today, the director of Woolworths Liquor Group, which owns the Dan Murphy’s chain of liquor stores, Steve Greentree described Coles’ campaign as “misleading”.

Mr Greentree said, “Coles has dramatically overestimated their claims about delivering low prices on liquor.” He claimed that on every comparable item in their catalogue today, Dan Murphy’s is cheaper. In addition, if advertised prices are lower than Dan Murphy’s prices, our shelf prices are automatically reduced.”

However, a spokesperson for Coles told Australian Food News today that Woolworths is “playing catch-up” by adjusting its liquor prices.

In a separate media statement released late last night, Coles’ General Manager of liquor Tony Leon said, “We know a price war isn’t won in a day. We are working toward delivering the best prices on wine, beer and spirits in the lead up to Christmas.”

Coles campaign marks the first time its ‘Down Down’ price cut symbol has appeared in its Liquorland stores.

Coles said its liquor price campaign will not be implemented in Northern Territory or the North West region of Western Australia, in line with its “responsible approach to the sale and enjoyment of alcohol”.

Editor’s comment: This last statement by Coles raises an interesting question: When does cutting the price of liquor become ‘irresponsible’?