By James Atkinson
If the latest round of liquor price discounting is bad news for the industry's smaller players, don't blame Woolworths Liquor, says group director, Steve Greentree.
Greentree told TheShout today that rival Coles' aggressive move of declaring war on liquor prices this week, with cuts of up to 31%, was a "first for retail".
"I don't know of any retailer that's made such brazen statements," he said, of Coles' bid to claim the category's lowest prices.
Greentree said Woolworths "reacted rather than led" the price cuts, and the customer is the biggest winner.
He suggested that anyone in the industry who is aggrieved should direct their blame "down south" at Coles' head office.
"We've got a responsibility to protect our brand," he said.
In a further jibe, Greentree suggested that the extension of Coles' 'Down Down' marketing campaign into Liquorland stores was a response to the chain's less than impressive sales results announced at the end of the financial year.
Earlier this week, Coles general manager of liquor, Tony Leon said in a statement that the company was seeing the results of the price war "only one day in".
"But we know a price war isn't won in a day," he said.
"Customers can be sure that we are constantly working toward delivering the market's best value on quality wine, beer and spirits, to ensure that all Aussie summer celebrations from the backyard barbecue to the Christmas day feast are festive, rather than frugal."
Leon was unavailable for further comment.