ACCC opposes SUPA IGA outlet purchase by Woolworths

ACCC Woolworths SUPA IGA
The major supermarket chain has a SUPA IGA store in its sights. (Source: Bigstock)

A proposed Woolworths’ acquisition of the SUPA IGA outlet in Karabar, New South Wales, has been opposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said “The proposed acquisition would see Woolworths operate three of six supermarkets in the local Queanbeyan/Jerrabomberra area. Local consumers would be left with just one Coles and two ALDI stores as alternatives.

“We concluded that the removal of the SUPA IGA would likely result in a substantial lessening of competition in the area.”

Woolworths already operates two supermarkets in the neighbouring suburbs of Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra. The SUPA IGA is the only independent supermarket in the local area and operates the Liquor Boss store from the same site.

Back in 2008 the supermarket giant attempted to acquire the same store, which was then operating as Superbarn, Canberra City News reported in September 2022.

The ACCC’s latest decision was informed by data analysis of the spending habits of local consumers, including how often and how much locals spent at different supermarkets in and outside the local area.

More than 700 consumers gave feedback to survey questions or provided written submissions.

The independent supermarket offers a different shopping experience

“The more supermarkets or grocery stores there are, the better outcomes for local consumers, who can change where they shop based on the most competitive offerings for their particular needs,” Cass-Gottlieb said.

The ACCC’s analysis found that the SUPA IGA Karabar offers a different shopping experience to Woolworths, Coles and ALDI.

“Supermarkets compete not just on the price you pay at the checkout, but the frequency and types of promotions they run, the range of products they sell, the quality of these products, and the level of service delivered at the store,” Cass-Gottlieb said.

“The local SUPA IGA competes with its different product mix, service offering and store amenity, and different promotional cycles.

“It also has the ability to make decisions locally, and to dynamically adapt and respond to changes in tastes and preferences of local customers,” she said.