Harris Farm urges ACCC to broaden supermarket probe

Harris Farm, Australia’s largest independent supermarket chain has urged the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to broaden its supermarket probe.

As the AFR reports, the competition regulator is investigating alleged misuse of market power by Coles Ltd and Woolworths Ltd. Harris Farm wants lease agreements and new store developments to be included in the investigation.

Harris Farm co-chief executive Tristan Harris has claimed that Coles and Woolworths have been absorbing losses on lease agreements and new stores so they can expand their industry dominance.

He claims that this gives the two giants an unfair advantage over smaller competitors such as Harris Farm who are unable to expand into such communities because they wouldn’t be able to handle such losses.

“The [ACCC] should be looking at what is required to make sure companies can compete on a fair basis, including rent and access,” Harris told the AFR.

“Coles and Woolworths are looking well into the future in terms of where they can put down a store and are happy to run it at a loss.”