Do Woolworths' Savings Add Up?

It was inevitable that Woolworths would come up with a counter-claim to match Coles' strategy of national pricing on 8,000 products. But do savings on 3,500 products really amount to much?

Picture by monkeyc

Woolworths says it has permanently reduced the price on 3,500 products over the last few months, and notes that it has offered state-based pricing on 12,000 products since 2008 (which falls short of Coles' national claim, but does mean goods should cost the same in Coffs Harbour as in Campbelltown). It also says it offers 2,000 specials a week, which seems a few more than I can remember seeing in a catalogue.

Nit-picking aside, the big issue with the Woolworths stance is that it hasn't released a list of the 3,500 products (a criticism that can equally be levelled at Coles' similar list). Of the sample products included in its press release, there was just one I might consider buying (the frozen raspberries, since you ask). While it is good to have the two main supermarket chains competing to keep prices down, a lot more detail on both sides would be welcome.

Woolworths statement [PDF link]


    Personally I'd prefer Woolworths/Safeway to put it's prices up slightly (I find Coles to be slightly more expensive) to deliver better deli meats, a slightly better range and a broader range and higher quality bakery bread (there's a marked difference here). I've recently moved and I'm now 5 minutes walk from Woolworths, which is the same size as my old Coles, and has an in store bakery. After some disappointing purchases from the Woolworths I'll be driving 10 minutes up the road to go to my old Coles, for fresh bread at least.

      I know what you mean about the bread. I got a woolworths white sliced loaf and a pair of mexican roles yesterday. A bite from each had them in the bin. I don't know how anyone can get a loaf of bread so wrong.
      I have always found coles cheaper with it's fortnightly specials. Each time I shop at the well presented Woolworths, I am surprised by the high final cost.

    I do most of the basics at Aldi where there has been national pricing for some time. Have always found Aldi's consistent and reliable with interesting if not unusual special items. Not as cheap as they first were but still good value. Of cause their range is limited so I need to shop at one of the big boys for some things.
    Coles has always seemed cheaper than Safeway/Woolworths here in Melbourne especially in the inner-northern and inner-western suburbs I shop in but since Westfarmers became the owners their product range is becoming much narrower and verities of things my kids enjoy or my wife likes have been bumped from their stock lists so I've now had to add Safeway/Woolworths to my Saturday morning shop.
    It would be interesting to see how much prices would come down if they were not subsidising their petrol businesses.
    Overall, a “Tip o’the hat” to all three for national pricing and a “Wag o’the finger” to Coles for reducing their range!

    First thing, way to mention where I currently live (Campbelltown) and where I want to live (Coffs Harbour)!!!

    Wollies needs to start doing the 10c liter off petrol when you spend > $75 again; I got that a couple of times and it's pretty sweet.

    State based pricing? Why do bananas cost $1/kg more in Albion Park as opposed to Shellharbour?
    Those two locations are 10 minutes apart from each other.

    I work at Woolworths... and yeah, they do have a lot more specials than are advertised (would you really want to read a catalogue that contained 2000 products for just a weekly special?) - but only the good ones are what are put in the catalogue.

    One thing: Thanks to consistent specials, I haven't had to spend more than a dollar per litre on milk for a long time. Sure it's long life milk, but it's far cheaper than fresh and you can stock up when it's on special. I don't know if Coles does that but Woolies sure does.

    Angus, although Woolworth's does not provide a list of the products that have been effected the shelf tickets have been changed to a light green.

    Most stores are in the process of putting the green tickets up, I know my store is.

    Yeah, I think that the national pricing will mean that basic foods will go up in lower socio-economic areas, where people can't afford them, such as Sunshine and Braybrook, and down in places like Toorak and Kew where money is often not an issue for local residents. Once again the rich guy wins.

    I have consistently found the local IGA and Foodland in Adelaide to be way better at delivering lower prices and a substantially larger range of items than either coles or wooolies. needless to say, the only reason to go to either of the big 2 is a really special special.

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