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Woolworths Calls For Inclusion Of Amazon And Costco In Mandatory Food And Grocery Sector Code

Supermarket giant Woolworths has advocated for the inclusion of international competitors such as Amazon and Costco in a new mandatory code of conduct. 

This move comes in response to interim recommendations by economist and former Labor Minister Craig Emerson, suggesting significant penalties for major breaches by large retailers.

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Coles said in a statement that it would work co-operatively on changes to the code. At the same time, Woolworths called for online and foreign competitors, including companies like Bunnings and Chemist Warehouse, to be covered by the code.

The company said a robust regulatory framework is essential to foster healthy relationships between retailers and suppliers, ultimately benefiting Australian consumers.

According to Woolworths, the existing voluntary code has proven ineffective due to its lack of enforcement mechanisms.

A Woolworths spokesman said: “Woolworths is a foundation signatory to the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, and we support it becoming mandatory for all large retailers and wholesalers of groceries to engender public trust and to level the playing field for retailers and wholesalers alike”.

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Both Woolworths and Coles, which collectively hold a significant share of the market, expressed willingness to cooperate in the review process to strengthen the code. 

“Customers have more choice than ever, instore and online, to fill their shopping basket. They can and do cross-shop widely. Suppliers also have more channels to market,” the spokesperson said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers welcomed Dr Emerson’s recommendations, particularly rejecting the idea of break-up powers for major retailers. 

“This work is all about how do we make our supermarkets as competitive as they can be, so that Australians get the best deal possible whether they be the providers, or of course the consumers at the checkout,” Mr Albanese said.

“And this recommends the code be made mandatory with very heavy penalties for major breaches of a fair go for families.”

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