LIBERAL Senator Bill Heffernan has launched into a rant, taking aim at the dominant market share of Coles and Woolworths in the Australian retail sector, during the opening session of the Senate Economics References Committee hearing into the impacts of supermarket chains’ pricing decisions on the Australian dairy industry.
Earlier this month the inquiry held public hearings in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra where an overwhelming message was delivered that Coles’ marketing strategy was unsustainable.
The final hearing is being held in Canberra today.
Woolworths Fresh Foods General Manager Pat McEntee and Woolworths Government Relations Manager, Nathalie Samia, appeared this morning.
Mr McEntee said Woolworths was not selling milk at a loss but was making a slim profit margin, since the price reduction to $1 a litre for home brand products, instigated by Coles on January 26.
Mr Heffernan closed the opening session by saying the strategy to sell milk at $1 a litre was all about shareholder profits and market share, and had nothing to do with the actual welfare of dairy farmers.
Coles CEO, Ian McLeod, and Merchandise Director, John Durkan will testify next.