It seems that new ACCC chief Rod Sims is getting serious about the reality of the power of the two major supermarket retailers.
At the same time, Andrew Reitzer MD of Metcash is giving the ACCC a headache over his presumptive execution of the purchase of Franklins from Pick n’ Pay before the Federal court had ruled, simply on the basis that the business was bleeding cash, and the transaction had to be done, even at the risk of the consequences of an adverse finding.
The overwhelming power of Coles and Woolworths has nevertheless not stopped the evolution of niche retailers like Harris Farm, competitive regional supermarkets like Drakes and Ritchies, and market entry of Aldi and Costco. The downward pressure on purchase price has however wrecked havoc on the Australian food manufacturing sector, with very few left, and those that are in pretty shallow water, with the only really large domestically owned manufacturer left, Goodman Fielder performing poorly.
I can only hope that in the new environment of more aggressive review of the retailers, that the plight of the domestic manufacturing sector is adequately considered.