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Woolworths to take over Hawker IGA

Woolworths' acquisition of the Supa IGA supermarket at Hawker Shopping Centre would lessen competition in the marketplace, according to the consumer watchdog.

But Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said there was such little impact the supermarket giant could buy the business from IGA operators John Krnc and his family.

Mr Sims met residents' group Friends of Hawker recently and heard their concerns about loss of parking and the closure of small businesses.

According to some at the meeting Mr Sims had said these were planning issues unrelated to competition.

The ACCC was confined by legislation and had to ensure its decisions were legally defensible. Friends of Hawker Village convenor Bill Kearney said Woolworths already operated two other supermarkets within a few kilometres of Hawker.

''The local community is understandably concerned about the demise of yet another independent grocery outlet that offered competition and choice of products and service,'' Mr Kearney said.

"There are also important concerns about the potential adverse impact on the centre's small, independent retailers as well as on future parking arrangements.

''Business analysts have predicted that the future growth of the two big national supermarket retailers - and especially Woolworths - will involve squeezing out small speciality retailers. These are the retailers who bring loyal customers to the centre and give suburban centres like Hawker so much of their character.''

In December 2011, the ACT government released a masterplan which proposed to relocate the IGA to the car park, with basement parking and a travelator to the ground level. It was a central plank of the new masterplan, after the Hawker community lashed previous plans that surfaced when ''for sale'' signs appeared on car parks in 2009 to signal a major redevelopment.

A backlash from irate traders and residents cooled only when a reference group - representing business, community and the government - was appointed. But after the masterplan, including shifting the supermarket, failed to win support a three-year moratorium was placed on government-sponsored development at the centre. This will expire in February 2015.

Mr Krnc and his family decided to sell. In a statement they said they were pleased with the ACCC's decision and they could move forward with the sale.

Mr Sims said the local market included several supermarket offerings. Within this market, the Hawker Supa IGA's closest competitor was a Coles supermarket at the nearby Jamison Centre, which also has an ALDI. The Woolworths supermarkets are more distant competitors.

The ACCC commissioned customer surveys which showed that while non-price aspects of the Hawker Supa IGA offer were valued by consumers, only a small number said its range, service and pricing were the most important reason they shopped there.

Despite its product differentiation, the Hawker IGA drew few customers from outside the suburbs immediately surrounding it, Mr Sims said.

28 comments

  • this is a fair disgrace, the service will now dissapear and prices go up??... How can letting Woollies who now have outlets in Belconnen Mall, Kippax, Charnwood and Dunlop now be "required" in Hawker?? Surely this is terrible for competition... I for one wont be shopping there anymore (once its woolworths)

    Commenter
    Shogunmatty
    Location
    Reality
    Date and time
    July 04, 2013, 11:20AM
    • Gee I wish people like you would make your minds up. Half the people who dislike Woolworths etc claim they put in low prices to drive the competition out, the other half claim Woolworths are more expensive already. Compared to an IGA this of course has to be a joke.

      The real villin here though must be the owner of the IGA for selling out. Just like happened in Kippax 15 years or so and Charnwood around 8 years ago.

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Location
      CBR
      Date and time
      July 04, 2013, 4:17PM
  • Very, very disappointing and worrying result. The IGA is friendly, helpful, and works in harmony with other retailers in the centre without trying to put them out of business. How long will it be before we have a monstrous, unwanted supermarket built on one of the surface carparks, and the excellent independent retailers (pharmacy, butcher, bakeries, newsagent, etc.) are driven out of business by predatory pricing? Those who, for reasons of sheer convenience, will continue to patronise a supermarket at Hawker will do so grudgingly. This is another win for developers and the supermarket duopoly.

    Commenter
    Karina
    Location
    Belconnen
    Date and time
    July 04, 2013, 12:20PM
    • You don't have to worry about the supermarket taking over the carpark, the government has already earmarked this land for apartments.

      If Woolworths were to expand it would be onto the pointless road the skirts the small carpark.

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Location
      CBR
      Date and time
      July 04, 2013, 5:30PM
  • Great, once Woolies goes in the only variety will be woolies select brand. Bonner is a perfect example, terrible product range for the size of the shop. At least the larger size independants have more brand variety.

    Commenter
    bbbero
    Date and time
    July 04, 2013, 12:47PM
    • Woolies at Kippax, now Hawker, Coles at Jamo, you have the Mall, run down supermarkets everywhere else. Yea, good move....

      Commenter
      Jitterry
      Date and time
      July 04, 2013, 12:53PM
      • I have stopped shopping at woolworths and big W many months ago, At big W they don't open the checkouts but force you to go to the self service (they will scan it for you) the same process happens at woolworths, checkouts are closed you can't even take a few items to the front counter as we have done for years, they will say to you to go to the self serve and they will scan it for you. On a few occasions i have just left my shopping on the floor and walked out and gone to coles where they still employ staff.

        Commenter
        SHOPPER
        Date and time
        July 04, 2013, 12:56PM
        • Of course it's the checkout staffs fault for following rules set out by their managers. So when you walk into a store with your strong opinions in hand, why don't you check to see if any registers are open. Because I'm sure the checkout staff love watching your tantrum after they've either offered to scan items for you, or at my local store they will open a register temporarily (even though this can leave them short staffed for other duties they need to do). And all you're doing is wasting your own time shopping all over again. Logic please?

          Commenter
          Realist
          Date and time
          July 04, 2013, 5:08PM
        • @realist.
          thanks for pointing out that is woolworths management telling the staff. Woolworths is clearly reducing the number of staff by trying to get us to do their work for them. This will mean more money leaves your community, i fail to see how it is my fault when i take my goods to the front counter where their are TWO registers and the staff member tells me to go elsewhere, The staff member is not willing to process my transaction there, but is willing to leave that checkout and walk to the self service and serve me there?? It is about corporate profits, and your community is going to be many staff and several hundred thousands dollars less well off.

          Commenter
          shopper
          Date and time
          July 05, 2013, 8:44AM
      • Times change people, seriously move on. Why pay more for your shopping when you don't have to?

        Commenter
        Adzz
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        July 04, 2013, 1:11PM

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