Coles points finger at suppliers for higher prices

Coles has told a parliamentary inquiry into supermarket prices that one of the reasons behind price rises is supplier cost increases.

In its submission to the Senate, Coles acknowledged that Australian households were facing cost-of-living challenges but said that they too were feeling the pressure.

“Coles is also impacted by the increased cost of doing business with increases in energy, labour, logistics, packaging, interest and tax costs,” the submission reads.

It says that a key driver of supermarket price increases has been cost-price increase requests from its suppliers and farmers, and that last year, they paid $32.3 billion to their suppliers and service operators.

The company said that it received an average of 70 cost increases a week from suppliers and farmers in FY22 and FY23, nearly double the level of FY21 requests.

“Our suppliers are subject to the same cost pressures experienced across households, as well as the domestic and global economies.

“We work constructively with our suppliers on promotional campaigns to offer great value to customers and to limit or defer the impact of supplier cost price increases to keep costs low for customers.”

Coles said that customers are at the centre of its pricing and ranging decisions, and while it is unable to influence other rising cost-of-living pressures, it can support Australian families by providing great value and choice across the board.

“Through our customer insights work, customers have shared they are increasingly eating and entertaining at home, seeking out loyalty points and bonus offers, and looking for more affordable alternatives as they seek more value in response to cost of living pressures.

“In seeking more value, the Coles Own Brand range has become increasingly important in delivering trusted value to customers. Changing customer trends have seen growth in the Coles Own Brand range, as well as shopping in bulk to make their dollar go further.”

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