Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Publican Cries Foul in Big Two's Onslaught; Woolies andColes Have ,Cystranglehold on Market'

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Publican Cries Foul in Big Two's Onslaught; Woolies andColes Have ,Cystranglehold on Market'

Article excerpt

Byline: Joel Gould joel.gould@qt.com.au

CORONATION Hotel publican David McLean is sick of opening Woolworths and Coles catalogues and seeing alcohol on sale for less than he can buy it for.

Mr McLean is not opposed to competition. In fact, he welcomes it.

But in the past four years Coles and Woolworths have increased their market share in the liquor industry from 32% to 52%.

The Coronation Hotel is family-owned and operated.

Mr McLean said that while the sample size of locally owned hotels was very small, they were up against C[pounds sterling]insurmountable resourcesC[yen] concentrated in the hands of a duopoly.

Locally, Coles owns the Mi Hi Tavern and chains such as Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice. Woolworths owns the Racehorse Hotel, BWS and Dan Murphy's.

C[pounds sterling]The biggest problem we have is that there is a duopoly and they have got a stranglehold on the market. The amount of influence they have on the liquor industry is astounding,C[yen] Mr McLean said.

C[pounds sterling]The likes of Dan Murphy's and BWS can sell liquor for cheaper than we can buy it.

C[pounds sterling]We are not allowed to advertise anything about on-premises specials. We couldn't tell anybody that we were charging X amount of dollars on Vodka Cruisers over the bar.

C[pounds sterling]But Woolworths and Coles can take a full-page ad and say that they are selling XXXX Gold for less than what we pay for it.

C[pounds sterling]We've got to put margins on top of that and people come in and say, CyYou are dear'. But we are not dear. We are just in a situation where we don't buy as much and we don't control the market.C[yen]

Mr McLean said that when the two big players went to battle on price, it was the locally owned pubs that were C[pounds sterling]collateral damageC[yen].

C[pounds sterling]The independents are having to reinvent their business daily to keep up with these juggernauts,C[yen] he said. C[pounds sterling]They are locusts. …

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