By Amy Looker
A report by consumer group Choice has confirmed that Woolworths and Coles dominate the retail liquor industry in Australia.
Choice surveyed 11 liquor retailers for the report, including the six groups owned by Woolworths (BWS, Dan Murphy’s and Woolworths Liquor) and Coles (Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice).
The report found staggering differences in price across the groups owned by the major retailers, with liquor outlets located closer to its associated supermarket charging more for the same product as stand alone stores.
A case of VB from a Woolworths Liquor outlet was reportedly 40 percent more expensive than a case of VB from a Dan Murphy’s store, even though Woolworths owns both groups.
The report also reveals that Coles and Woolworths have a 45 percent market share of retail liquor outlets and their aggressive pricing is often under-cutting independent retailers.
The oversupply of wine and resulting cleanskin products were also mentioned in the report, with the executive director of Wine Grape Growers’ Australia, Mark McKenzie, warning that the supermarket’s dominance of cleanskin and buyer’s own brand labels could damage the wine industry in the long-term.
“The dominance of supermarket-owned wine brands made under contract is squeezing wine producers’ profits. And while consumers are enjoying low prices now, there will be a huge cost to the variety of Australian wines available,” said McKenzie.