Australia’s Albanese government recently tasked the country’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with conducting a comprehensive inquiry into supermarket pricing and competition, and its investigation has now commenced.

Supermarket chain Coles expressed its commitment to collaborating with the inquiry into the broad economic factors that influence pricing in the sector, and has now submitted its report to the committee.

Coles said in a statement: “[We are] working hard to help Australians put quality food on the table for their families at affordable prices – particularly as they face escalating living costs with higher mortgages and rents and increasing expenses like energy and fuel.    

“This is against a challenging environment of high inflation, with rising costs that affect the whole economy including farmers, suppliers and retailers, and which impact the prices customers pay at the checkout.” 

Coles has reported a consistent profit margin of 2.6% since the financial year 2020, translating to a $2.60 profit for every $100 spent by customers.  

This profitability enables the company to re-invest in its operations, employ 120,000 team members, support local communities, pay taxes and distribute dividends to its shareholders.  

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Coles also stated that it has successfully kept price inflation below the rate reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the last 16 consecutive quarters.  

Between July and September 2023, supermarket inflation was recorded at 3.1%, with fresh food categories such as produce and meat experiencing a deflation of 2.3%. 

Coles CEO Leah Weckert is set to appear before the committee once its hearings are scheduled.