03/10/2007 - 15:52

Woolworths says food retail not overly concentrated

03/10/2007 - 15:52

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Days after the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia made renewed calls for deregulation of trading hours, supermarket group Woolworths Ltd has claimed the food retail sector is not overly concentrated.

Woolworths says food retail not overly concentrated

Days after the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia made renewed calls for deregulation of trading hours, supermarket group Woolworths Ltd has claimed the food retail sector is not overly concentrated.

Opponents of deregulated trading believe Woolworths and Coles Group already dominate the industry, and would gain even larger market share under changes to existing legislation.

However, Woolworths boss Michael Luscombe told the National Press Club today that Australia's food retail sector was competitive.

He said the competitor mix in Australia was about standard when compared with other similar-sized populations and economies.

"Claims made by some that use the AC Nielsen scan data to erroneously state that Woolworths and Coles share 80 per cent of the grocery markets are false and misleading," Mr Luscombe said.

He said the data did not measure the full range of products, with which the company's supermarkets competed.

That included items such as fresh food, meat, and liquor, and only a handful of the 30,000 food and liquor retailers in Australia.

"The survey is an anachronism and should not be considered by responsible legislators as a true reflection of market share," Mr Luscombe said.

"The more accurate ABS figures for Food, Liquor and Groceries show that independents in fact make up more than 50 per cent of the total market and are growing.

"So, Australia does have a highly competitive food retail market, which is continuing to evolve to meet changing consumer habits."

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