Coles Group on behalf of itself and participating supermarkets

Summary

On 20 March 2020, Coles Group Limited, on behalf of the Participating Supermarkets lodged an application for authorisation, including requesting urgent interim authorisation, to engage in a number of coordinated activities with a view to ensuring the supply and fair and equitable distribution of Retail Products to Australian consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. See section 3.1 of the Application, linked below.

The Participating Supermarkets are Coles, Woolworths, ALDI, and Metcash.

Coles also lodged the application on behalf of any other grocery retailer who wishes to engage in the conduct in the future, providing the ACCC is notified.

Retail Products are defined as fresh food, groceries, household products, and liquor.

On 23 March 2020, the ACCC granted interim authorisation. On 26 March 2020, in order to clarify the process for other grocery retailers to be covered by this interim authorisation to engage in the Proposed Conduct which is the subject of the application, the ACCC revoked the interim authorisation granted on 23 March, and substituted it with a conditional interim authorisation, linked below.

The condition requires grocery retailers (other than the Participating Supermarkets) that wish to obtain the protection of this interim authorisation to notify and be approved by the ACCC in order to obtain the protection of the interim authorisation. Details of the process are in the Interim Authorisation Decision Statement of Reasons – Replacement of Revoked Decision. A list of grocery retailers which the ACCC has approved to have the protection of the interim authorisation is below.

The ACCC is currently consulting with interested parties on the following two points:

  1. If you have been directly impacted by the conduct under the interim authorisation granted by the ACCC on 23 March 2020, what is your experience to date?
  2. Do you have any comments on the likely public benefits and detriments, whether the ACCC should authorise the conduct for a further six months, and whether any conditions should be placed on the authorisation?

We are interested in hearing from you at any time during the ACCC’s assessment process in relation to point 1. We request submissions in relation to point 2 by Friday 1 May 2020.

An indicative timetable is set out below for your information:

20 March 2020

Lodgement of application and supporting submission, including request for interim authorisation.

23 March 2020

Interim decision.

26 March 2020

Amended interim decision.

3 April 2020

Public consultation process begins.

1 May 2020

Closing date for submissions on the substantive application for authorisation from interested parties.

June 2020

Applicant responds to issues raised in the public consultation process.

July 2020

Draft determination.

July/August 2020

Public consultation on draft determination including any conference if called.

September 2020

Final determination.

Further information on the application for authorisation is available in the application, linked below.

Applicant(s)

  • Coles Group Limited
  • Woolworths Group Limited
  • ALDI Stores
  • Metcash Limited

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000477-1