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Woolworths Monopoly in Queanbeyan

By illyria - 10 April 2008 108

Rumours have been circulating for a while that the supermarket in Karabar Mall in Queanbeyan is being taken over by Woolworths. Staff have apparently been advised that they need to reapply to Woolworths for their jobs.

This morning on Radio 2CC, it was confirmed by Eric Koundouris of the local Supabarn Supermarket chain that they had tried to purchase the Karabar supermarket but they had been gazumped by Woolies at the last minute.

This means that Woolies now have about 80% of the Queanbeyan market with a large supermarket in central Queanbeyan, another in Jerrabomberra and soon, Karabar Mall, leaving all of the residents of South Queanbeyan, as well as Jerrabomberra and outlying rural areas like Burra, Googong and Mount Campbell with no local choice. This means no competition on prices, and sometimes more importantly, no variety of products.

The Supabarn supermarkets in Civic and at Erindale are outstanding and offer a fantastic range of products that are just not available from Woolies. Same goes for my local IGA supermarket in South Canberra.

I am expecting the usual struggletown comments on here, but not all Queanbeyan people like to shop at ALDI or Woolies. Queanbeyan people deserve gourmet deli items, and at a reasonable price, as much as the next person!!!

Woolies are also the only supermarket to offer Home Shopping in Canberra. Another market sewn up. Come on IGA and Supabarn, if they have beaten you to the Karabar Mall and others, set up home shopping and I for one will boycott Woolies for good.

What’s Your opinion?

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108 Responses to
Woolworths Monopoly in Queanbeyan
bd84 11:22 pm 10 Apr 08

totall guzumped, god forbid anyone who places a higher bid for something someone wants to buy.

I also don’t see the monopoly, the nearest competition of an aldi and coles is what? a three to five minute drive away? If you don’t want to shop at woolworths, i’m sure you’re capble of driving a bit further. Plus if supabarn get to buy it, there is absolutely no indication that it would promote any extra competition besides the alternative range.

I couldn’t believe that the supabarn there is in the same state it was in the last time I went there, some 10 to 12 years ago, anything would probably help it!

Deano 10:34 pm 10 Apr 08

I was listening to John Cummings, chairman of the National Association of Retail Grocers Australia speaking at the National Press Club a couple of weeks back. He was making some illogical argument that Woolworths and Coles should be regulated because he had to lower his prices to compete with them yet they were somehow then responsible for grocery price inflation which had outstripped the CPI.

As for Woolworths having a monopoly of home delivery, get real. The home delivery business has no entry barriers to competition what so ever – all you need is a web site and a truck. If the independents can’t get in on that market they are in the wrong game.

I afraid that with the ACCC inquiry currently in town, all the lobbyists have come out of the woodwork having smelled a rent seeking opportunity.

barney 10:31 pm 10 Apr 08

I used to joke about shopping at Aldi. But I’d shop there for many items, if only there was one nearby.


Morgan 10:27 pm 10 Apr 08

The big supermarkets try to employ as many casuals as possible, I don’t know about Supabarn but Woolworths couldn’t employ less permanent staff, otherwise their managers would be casual. Woolworths wouldn’t pay that much better than Supabarn otherwise with all the staff shortages no one would work at Supabarn anymore, they’d all be at Woolworths.

As far as the local economy goes, presumably if they are buying the same sort of stuff, at similar wholesale prices and you can account mostly for the higher prices at Supabarn to higher wage costs; Supabarn would win because wages stay in the local economy and large amounts of the profits would also be spent locally as the owner lives here and not diluted across many Woolworths shareholders.

Adza 10:16 pm 10 Apr 08

I’d like to know what they’re planning with the mall. The Coles service station closed down recently and apparently it’s for a mall redevelopment.

Could it be another Marketplace springing up?

Felix the Cat 9:25 pm 10 Apr 08

There was an article about this in the latest Chronicle. Supposedly the Karabar supermarket was offered to Woolies and they said they weren’t interested, so it was offered to Supabarn and a price was negotiated and contracts were drawn up but then the deal went cold and all of a sudden Woolies had snuck in a better offer. This is just the side of the story put forward by Eric Koundouris of course, Woolies may have a completely different version….
Also, according to the Chronicle article Supabarn have ambitions of being Australia’s third biggest supermarket chain.

Duke 8:53 pm 10 Apr 08

I go to the Supabarn at Karabar regularly and I’m happy with the service, prices and products.

F**k Woolworths

imhotep 8:44 pm 10 Apr 08

“Woolworths has a higher fulltime staff rate as a grocer hence being more sustainable.”

Oh really? Where are they all? At my local Woolies, all I ever see are bored (and I presume part-time) teenagers. And isn’t Supabarn a grocer?

There is good reason to support good independent retailers like Supabarn. Woolworths and Coles already abuse their near-monopoly position. The community continues to lose out in the interest of their shareholders, and the Government (and the ACCC) has never been interested in anything other than ‘looking into it’.

madman 7:18 pm 10 Apr 08

I’m just in the Employment Industry

illyria 7:16 pm 10 Apr 08

Why would all the Supabarn staff be casual or part-time? I am not their recruitment officer but I imagine that they are like any other small to medium business and they have mostly full timers during normal business hours. Have you been to Supabarn lately? They are not exactly your ma and pa corner store.

And what makes you think Woolies are community minded?

The Koundouris family are Canberra based and donate a whopping amount to local charities. (There was an article in the City News to this effect last year).

Anyway, this is about groceries, the cost of the groceries and availability and choice in a large suburban catchment area.

Madman, are you a Woolies Stoolie???

madman 6:55 pm 10 Apr 08

Yeah but what I was saying was – aren’t all the people at supabarn casual or part-time staff – with a managers being fulltime? Woolworths has a higher fulltime staff rate as a grocer hence being more sustainable. You can train to be a manager or do a traineeship in retail and get an educational outcome from it aswell as an employment outcome. Wouldn’t see Supabarn turning into a RTO and taking on trainees at the amount woolies does. Plus would it be fair to throw the question in to this – Doesn’t Woolworths give more back to the community rather then small grocer chains?

Economically would be the winner.

illyria 6:47 pm 10 Apr 08

Sorry Sammy, Wanniassa Shops, which is very close to Erindale. My mistake but not really relevent to the whole Monopoly in Queanbeyan thing.

Personally, I would go with ironic rather than freudian.

sepi 6:46 pm 10 Apr 08

Supabarn has much higher staffing levels, which is why you don’t have to wait so long at the check-outs.

Massive monopolies are not good for anyone except the millionaires at the top.

Sammy 6:32 pm 10 Apr 08

The Supabarn is actually at Wanniassa.

Erindale is a Woolworths. How freudian.

madman 5:40 pm 10 Apr 08


Looking on the good side, with woolies taking over it will develop more sustainable jobs then that of a smaller chain. More room for the employees to move around the managerial chain, probably better pay and conditions too and I would belive there more cultarally aware and diverse in employment.

Might spruse up the Karabar Labour Market and get some more people off the dole and into work.

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