Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Health checks from Woolworths?

Mark Fletcher
July 1st, 2014 · 12 Comments

The announcement today that Woolworths intends to offer free heath checks is another example of why we need legislation to stop the growth of the supermarket duopoly in Australia. Indeed, politicians need to legislate to force a reduction of their market share.

Bob Katter was on TV tonight listing the businesses closed brown by the supermarkets. He included newsagents in his list. While I Tweeted Bob () to say we’re not dead yet, newsagents and every other small business owner in Australia needs to lobby their local politicians to call for legislation reining in Coles and Woolworths.

Enough is enough. We have to fight for our businesses, our families, our employees and ur communities.


Category: Ethics · Small Business · Social responsibility

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brett // Jul 1, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    Legislation is required. A divestment plan to run over perhaps 20 years to make it smooth. The last comment on the news was that while they were recruiting pharmasists it was NOT for the health checks. Looks a lot like pharmacies are next on their list.


  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Jul 2, 2014 at 6:33 AM

    Brett the challenge is that we have few in parliament who would have the guts to take a stand against the supermarket duopoly.


  • 3 Cameron // Jul 2, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    Hmmm… the front page of this week’s Woolworths catalogue offers half price Freddo Frogs and bacon.


  • 4 Wally // Jul 2, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    What do they want? It isnt Coles or Woolworths as such nor the shareholders. It is the bosses. What makes them want to close down all small business?. Does it make them feel powerful and strong?. I know they will say it is for the shareholders but that is not the real story. Why would they need to kill all chemists, newsagencies butchers hardware shops?. is the country better off because we have all saved money?. What about the suppliers who are also been pushed out of business?. Is that making the rural industry better? Or is it a “look at me look at me” I am so clever that i can close down all these small businesses. I am big I am powerful. If they were a leader of a country they would be likened to Robert Mugabe or some thing similar. I am sure they will say they are bringing cheaper prices to the public which is what they want. So they are clever marketers by only been able to compete on price. that means screw the little guy.


  • 5 allan wickham // Jul 2, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Cameron, I`m now thinking about bacon wrapped Freddo`s deep fried……


  • 6 Brett // Jul 2, 2014 at 9:51 AM


    They can no longer argue they need to be big because they can offer cheaper prices to customers. Shop after shop after shop, including newsagents are cheaper than the big two every day. Its only their ads that say they are cheap.

    Its time for the pollies to make a stand. And yes Mark, they will need big brass ones to make that call, but people pressure make pollies act.


  • 7 jenny // Jul 2, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Add cafes to Woolworths latest in store additions, with a good barista and coffee mug holder in trolleys, this makes an easy sell to customers.


  • 8 subaru // Jul 3, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    Once the Duopoly get rid of all honest small business, they can put their prices up and charge what they like.

    Law of supply and demand.

    If people can’t get items elsewhere, the demand will still be there, and those with the items can charge what they like…

    For the sake of both small business owners and consumers as well, the ACCC and federal and state pollies MUST get involved.


  • 9 Angelo // Jul 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Subaru I think you’re right when it comes to one of the duopoly pricing small business out of the local area so that they are the go to place. That is what is happening in my town though it is thinly veiled to avoid being accused of predatory pricing.

    However when you have Woolies, Coles and an Aldi within reasonable distance of each other then they will remain competitive with each other and prices shouldn’t go up as they will be then fighting for market share under the guise of increasing “increasing shareholder return”

    I am not sure if there is a Pharmacy Association that is having a go at this situation. I think they fought off something like this before but it is now back again using the Health Check stepping stone.

    Has anyone read “the Wal-Mart affect” by Carl Shipman? I saw the video version some time ago and it is very sobering viewing for small business particularly in small towns. I think it should be required viewing/reading for anyone in the small business portfolio of state and federal governments.

    I agree Mark, enough is enough!


  • 10 Richard // Jul 3, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    This scenario is not far away and is already up and running – I”ll have this prescription filled and a quick pick in tonights Lotto and by the way can you check my blood pressure all at your local pharmacy.


  • 11 Dean // Jul 3, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    I haven’t read the Wal-Mart affect but I did hear some quite astonishing statistics regarding them. Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the USA and out of every retail dollar spent in the USA, 12 cents is spent at Wal-Mart. Out of every dollar spent in a retail store in Australia, 88 cents is spent at either Woolworths or Wesfarmers/Coles.

    The have taken over bottle shops, petrol stations and hardware stores and now they have little competition their prices are not cheap. Look back 15 or so years ago and see what the Australian dollar was against the US dollar, the “barrel” price of oil and what we were paying for petrol at the pump and compare them with todays prices. We should be paying about $1.10 per litre today.

    The government and ACCC needs to break up Woolworths and Wesfarmers so competition can bring down down prices and give small business a fair go.


  • 12 Mark Fletcher // Jul 4, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    I’ve read The Walmart Effect and a couple of other books about the giant. What’s interesting is that Coles and Woolworths each have greater market share in Australia.

    Walmart the High Cost of Low Price is an excellent movie to watch:


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