April 2012 Bright Vic

Bright economy under the microscope following VCAT decision to OK another duopoly supermarket. They didn't take on board the economic evidence presented by independents and now the independents and the community are paying for the blind eye.

Bright_Report_April_12.pdf Bright Report 12Kb

August 2012 Australia-wide

Master Grocers of Australia undertake reserach to show a "fair Go' is overdue and needed in the Australian supermarket sector and that the Government and ACCC should pay heed to the problems stemming from the pronounced duopoly. You can read the Executive Summary and/or the full report

MGA_Report_Executive_Summary_10_August_12.pdf MGA report 12Kb

Wal-Mart’s Economic Footprint

New York research which demolishes the myths of the benefits of the big chains focussing here on Wal Mart in the US. Recommended reading for all interested in the future of retailing in Australia, particularly the ACCC and Productivity Commission and their current positions as to competition and market dominance.

LINK http://pubadvocate.nyc.gov/files/Walmart.pdf

Wal-Mart’s Economic FootprintWal-Martís Economic Footprint 230Kb

April 2011

The Challenge to Feed a Growing Nation by Accenture Australia for NARGA. This report examines the relationship between agricultural producers, the retail chains and anti-competitive behaviour. Nov 2010.

The challenge to feed a growing nation.pdf The challenge to feed a growing nation 4Mb

April 2011

Selected reading references for the key issues involving independent retailing: April 2011

Please note copyright rests with the authors and publishers and is available only for private study and research under the provisions of copyright.

Parliamentarians and councillors are urged to seek the full texts from their reference libraries.

December 2008

Selected reading references for the key issues involving independent retailing: Dec 2008

Please note copyright rests with the authors and publishers and is available only for private study and research under the provisions of copyright.

1.  Assessing the competition between small food shops and supermarkets

By Cliff Guy

Jan 2008

The UK Competition Commission has reported that competition between the small local food shops have the ability to compete against supermarkets.  An evaluation of the CC Report revealed that the retail trade statistical material and the status of small shops as healthy is questionable.  The issue of whether planning authorities should discriminate against supermarkets in favour of stores is discussed.

2.  The Price we pay



Big and dangerous or cheap and friendly.  Stephen Long investigates how the astonishing market dominance of Woolworths and Coles affects consumers, suppliers and the nation’s food bowl

3.  Competition under Fire

By Jane Lindhe

BRW June 2009

This reports on creeping acquisition.  It says that such purchases pose a threat to competition over time and comments on the TPA.

4.  ACCC flags supermarket reforms

By Jane Lindhe

BRW  June 2009

The ACCC review will recommend eliminating structural impediments to competition mentioning that large chains use town planning laws to prevent competitors in certain areas.

5.  Retail covenants breach law

By Jane Lindhe

BRW August 2009

ACCC says the restrictive covenants of Woolworths and Coles are anti-competitive and illegal. Landlords are also liable.  $10m fines for each offence potential.

6.  Producing the Goods

By Walter Menzies

Green Places 2006

In the UK, municipal neglect and misguided planning are creating neatness of bland development. The NEF found that 42% of surveyed towns were “clone towns” where the mainstreets were now dominated by a monochrome strip of global and national chains.

7.  Analysing the impact of WalMart supercentres on local food store sales

By Georgeanne Artz (University of Missouri) and Kenneth Stone (University of Iowa)

American Journal of Agricultural Economics 2006

Research shows that WalMart entry in non metro areas reduces grocery sales in existing stores by 17% in the first two years. Many local officials anticipate increased property and sales taxes from a new (WalMart) but fail to recognise other potentially offsetting effects including lower wages.

8.  The Economic and Social Impact of Big Box Retailers: Discussion

By Thomas Hart (Prof: University of Nevada)

American Journal of Agricultural Economics 2006

Reviews three papers and indicates trade-offs between big box retail such as WalMart as to competition with existing sector stores, lower wages and services availability.

9.  Buying Power in the UK groceries market

By Paul Dobson (Prof Loughborough) and Ratula Chakraborty (Loughborough)

Antitrust Bulletin Sept 2008

The apparently inexorable trend towards further retail consolidation in the UK is likely to keep the sector under the regulatory spotlight.

10.  Fixing fairness in the food chain

Farmers Weekly 2008

The article praises the decision of the Competition Commission to strengthen and extend the grocery supply chain’s Code of Practice and mentions the Office of Fair Trading’s investigation into price fixing in the grocery sector.  It describes the relationship between farmers and the supermarket chains.

11.  Back in Business

By Amanda Burton

Australian Geographic 2008

Charts the comeback of small stores versus supermarkets in Australia by diversifying their offer.

12.  Time to curb the power of the supermarkets

By Caroline Stock

Farmers Weekly 2009

The author reflects the need for the British Government to reduce the power of supermarkets over suppliers and the supply chain after the Competition Commission called for the establishment of a retailer ombudsman.

13.  Know your enemy

By Jenny McTaggart

Progressive Grocer 2006

How to compete with WalMart etc which threatens the smaller grocer: impacts and strategies to fight back

14.  Supermarket Sweep

The Economist 2008

Examines UK Office of fair Trading looking at price fixing of chain supermarkets and how this inspection reflects a newly aggressive attitude of European governments towards anti-trust laws.

15.  Choice survey highlights shopper concern

Australian Consumers’ Association 2008

A survey of subscribers shopping patterns for submission to ACCC

16.  A Tesco in every town

The Economist 2007

Small shops compete amongst themselves, big supermarkets have 900 sites land banked and try to lock out competition to maintain profits

17.  The competition effects of supermarket services

By Alessandro Bonanno(Penn State University) and Rigoberto Lopez (University of Conneticut) August 2009

This study investigates the competition effects of supermarket services using fluid milk as a case study.  Higher prices, more quantity sold and more less price sensitive customers is the result from data at 15 supermarket chains.

18.  Retail innovation and shopping practices: consumers’ reactions to self service retailing

By Andrew Alexander and Simon Phillips (University of Surrey) Gareth Shaw (University of Exeter)

Environment and Planning 2007

Charting the rise of self service and understanding shopping behaviour.

19.  The Sprawl of Food Deserts

By Nathaniel Mead

Environmental Health Perspectives 2008

Canadian perspective and study on suburbanisation of supermarkets and reduced food variety and availability in urban centres as well as decline of local resident numbers close to supermarkets.  Advocates new planning laws and farmers’ markets.

20.  The power of two: squaring off with Australia’s large supermarket chains

By David Round (Prof University of South Australia)

Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society 2006

A key resource for the current government and ACCC which postulates market conduct not structure should be the primary focus of regulatory and policy interest by government.  Intervention as a general policy in supermarket retailing would not be socially efficient it says.  Minister Emerson and ACCC leader Samuels have adopted this view.

21.  The Australian grocery industry: a competition perspective

By Rhonda Smith (University of Melbourne)

Australian Agricultural and resource Economics Society 2006

Supports Round (see above) while discussing buyer-power concern and harm to other retailers, suppliers and consumers, can’t quite make the case that it occurs and how it could be dealt with.  Important to understand the standpoint of the current and previous Federal governments.  This assists in understanding their inaction. Based on out of date references.

22.  The regulation of retailing:  lessons for developing countries

By Allan Fels

Asia Pacific Business Review 2009

Examines the history of regulation of retailing in developed countries and considers the lessons for Asia Pacific nations.   Once a high degree of concentration has been reached and with it considerable buyer and seller power by retail chains, significant policy problems have arisen.  There comes a tipping point when retail chains reach a position of dominance with effects on competition.

23.  Supermarkets and shopper dockets: the Australian experience: policy forum

By Joshua Gans (University of Melbourne) and Stephen King (ACCC)

Australian Economic Review 2004

Brand-specific bundling between groceries and petrol can be a legitimate competitive tool, but as the practice spreads such bundling may result in a considerable loss of consumer welfare and a long term erosion of competitive pressure in both industries.

24.  Retail grocery prices in Victoria: the relevance of local market conditions

By Jill Walker and Tony Webber (Network Economics Consulting Group)

Australian Economic Review 2004

The research builds on Metcash supported work by Smart, Peroski and Ergas re creeping acquisition.   Prices in supermarkets are effected by local market power and location specific market power should be considered in review of the grocery industry.

25.  The impact of supermarkets on farm suppliers

By G.R. Griffiths (NSW Dept of Primary Industries)

Australian Economic Review 2004

Reviews the nexus of farmers and supermarkets and recommends further research to examine the links but acknowledges that problems of market power do exist in this market.

26.  The supermarket: an institutional innovation

By Walter Oi (University of Rochester)

Australian Economic Review

Examines an overview of the history of supermarkets and touches on negative aspects of WalMart in driving out small stores, but net los of jobs and replacement of jobs with less well paid jobs.

27.  Service trumps price

By Michael Bergdahl

Progressive Grocer 2008

Compares prices at supermarkets versus WalMart and extols the virtues of service to counter the effects of discounted prices.

28.  Competition and Oligopoly: a case of UK grocery retailing

By Kevin Lawler (European School of Management)


Economic modelling findings show that consumer characteristics define type of store choice and that an auction model of price competition with uncertainty is an appropriate way to model retail grocery competition.

29.  Liquor retailing and the Woolworth/Coles juggernaut

By Evans Jones (University of Sydney)

Journal of Australian Political Economy 2005

Reviews unparalleled market dominance of the duopoly but no substantial government action.   Both the NCC and the ACCC view the aggression of the two retailers as a boon to consumers. This view, it is argued, is very short-sighted.  It is also profoundly negligent of the businesses who are victims of a structured process of exploitation.  The authorities’ rhetoric persistently ignores the structural subordination of small businesses.  That the authorities judge this essentially monopolistic drive as acceptable represents a distortion of the anti-exploitative ethic that has always underpinned the defence of the market economy itself.

30.  Testing the effectiveness of the proposed UK competition test

By Rebecca Hughes (University of Leeds)

Service Industries Journal 2009

The new competition laws (planning based) are toothless and many agree that the Friends of the Earth position is accurate,” The commission’s report misses the opportunity to support local shops and choice – its competition test does not go far enough to stop the Tesco (and ASDA (WalMart) ) takeover and the commission has done nothing to recreate vibrant (local) shopping communities.”

31.  Grocery retailers and regional monopolies

By Rachel Poole (University of Leeds)


Explores the extent of future retail expansion after Competition Commissions findings and what-ifs expansion of smaller operators in regional areas, perhaps even by divestment of the big chains.

32.  Consumer observations on channel choices: Competitive strategies in Finnish grocery retailing

By Katri Koistinen (National Consumer Research Centre)

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 2009

Finnish consumers use multi channel shopping opportunities and price is not the dominating criteria for selection.  Consumers respond to loyalty programmes and have options for selection of which loyalty programme they choose.

33.  The Australian Grocery Industry

By Rhonda Smith (University of Melbourne)

Australian Economic Review 2004

An overview of the grocery industry from a conservative point of view. 

34.  Hypermarkets and the small retailers in Malaysia

By Rosmimah Roslin (UTM)

Journal of Asia Pacific Business 2008

The introduction of hypermarkets such as Carrefor and Tesco are altering the retail sector.  Some regulatory measures may need to be introduced.

35.  The effect of WalMart on grocery prices in NewEngland

By Richard Volpe (University of California)


Pricing effect in NewEngland by WalMart shows decrease by 6-7% for national brands, 3-7% for private labels with dry and dairy being most effected by price decreases by virtue of WalMart.

20 November 2008

PricewaterhouseCoopers June 2007 "The economic contribution of small to medium-sized grocery retailers to the Australian economy, with a particular focus on Western Australia"

Download report as PDF 1.6mb


UK Competition Commission Commentary from the UK Competition Commission on the Groceries Market provisional Findings. Highlighting areas of concerns and implications for consumers and small retailers.

07.10.31.CC_UK_news_release.pdf 07.10.31.CC_UK_news_release.pdf 134Kb


Groceries Market Investigation - Emerging Thinking
UK Competition Commission, a report on the demise of independent retail and growth of chains among other key issues.

emerging_thinking_UK_CC_report.pdf emerging_thinking_UK_CC_report.pdf 403Kb


Achieving Fairness in Trading Between Supermarkets and their Agrifood Supply Chains
for the UK Food Group Briefing by Anne Tallontire, NRI University of Greenwich, Medway and Bill Vorley International Institute of Environment and Development

UKFG_Briefing_Fairness_in_Trade_Sept_2005-1.pdf UKFG_Briefing_Fairness_in_Trade_Sept_2005-1.pdf 203Kb