Australian Supermarket Profits While Consumers Struggle To Pay Bills

Grocery receipt

Australian supermarket, Coles, has announced an AU$1.098 billion in total profit, up 4.8 percent on higher prices, while the cost of living hits Australians.

It’s a good day for Coles, who announced $1.098 billion in total profits, with Woolworths Australia planning to announce its profits soon.

Coles noted increased gross margins in supermarket and liquor divisions in its release.

Coles and Woolworths control two-thirds of the supermarket sector, creating a chokehold over the prices customers pay for essentials at the tills.

Comparisons with UK supermarkets, which see a lot more competition, show profits from groceries are higher in Australia than their overseas counterparts.

The ACTU has recently launched a Price Gouging Inquiry, and 30 percent of respondents to the Report, a Rip-Off website, have already cited supermarkets as their primary concern.

One respondent commented that they had spent AU$200 to get a trolley’s-worth of groceries after having paid AU$67 to get five items earlier in the week. Another respondent said they suffered from health issues and couldn’t afford many fresh food items regardless of how they tried to budget.

A third respondent said that they could not afford anything other than rent and food, with any leftover income going toward paying off part of one household bill, with them adding they could not afford to pay all of their bills.

ACTU Assistant Secretary Joseph Mitchell said it was little wonder that supermarkets were the most complained about in the industry to the ACTU’s call for information regarding price gouging.

“The public has been told that supply chain issues and inflation are to blame for the cost-of-living crisis. But when you see the profits like those posted today, it is legitimate to ask whether Australia’s big supermarkets have used the cost-of-living crisis as a smokescreen to push up their profit margins, despite costs decreasing themselves,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell continued that this profit season suggested that some of Australia’s most prominent companies post significant profits while either exploiting loopholes to drive down wages or arguably charging more than is necessary to their customers.