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Coke boss blasts supermarkets over 'loss leaders'

Coca-Cola Amatil has rallied behind the competition regulator in its crackdown on aggressive supermarket practices, calling for a debate over discount tactics, the Australian Financial Review reports.

Chief executive Terry Davis said the government needed to do more to protect Australian manufacturers and called for a debate over practices such as selling popular products below cost as ‘‘loss leaders’’.

‘‘There is certainly room for debate [about] customers with such market power – and it’s indisputable that Coles and Woolworths have market power,’’ Mr Davis said.

He said, however, that he was opposed to the appointment of an industry ombudsman, and cautioned against a mandatory code of conduct for the food industry.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating whether Coles and Woolworths engaged in improper practices to force down prices from suppliers.

It comes as Wesfarmers, the conglomerate that owns Coles, on Thursday confirmed to Fairfax Media it had pushed Coles executives to further investigate accusations of wrongdoing and misuse of market power when dealing with its own suppliers.