Issues > Food & Drink > Companies > Supermarkets in Australia
Supermarkets in Australia
Australia has one of the most concentrated grocery markets in the world. Woolworths and Coles account for over 65% of supermarket sales. The more market share they have, the more influence they have over suppliers, and the easier it is to stamp out smaller independent retailers.
Criticisms of the Woolworths/Coles duopoly include market dominance, squeezing suppliers, creeping acquisitions, predatory pricing, restrictive covenants, and building supermarkets in small towns despite local protests.
Woolworths is Australia's largest supermarket operator, and NZ's second largest. After years of criticism for being Australia's largest owner of poker machines, Woolworths spun off its liquor retail and hotels businesses in 2021, leaving the poker machines business. Woolworths also operates over 150 Big W stores around Australia.
Wesfarmers bought Coles Group in 2007 for $22 billion, but spun off the supermarket and liquor business in 2018. Wesfarmers kept Officeworks, Kmart and Target, which were part of Coles Group when it was acquired by Wesfarmers. Coles Group now owns Coles supermarkets; 1st Choice, Liquorland and Vintage Cellars liquor stores; Coles Express (with Shell) fuel & convenience stores.
German-owned ALDI operates over 570 stores in Australia, accounting for 11% of supermarket sales. Most brands in store are ALDI owned. Over 80% of products are Australian made.
Metcash accounts for 7% of supermarket sales in Australia and distributes primarily to independently owned stores including IGA and Foodland supermarkets; IGA Liquor, Bottle-O and Cellarbrations liquor stores; Mitre 10, Home Timber & Hardware and Total Tools hardware stores.
Shop at independent supermarkets, or even better, farmers markets and food co-ops.