The dominance of the supermarket sector in Australia by Coles and Woolworths is reflected by a pretty good showing worldwide, with both retailers achieving a top 20 ranking for the revenue they pulled in in 2011, a recent report from Deloitte reveals.
Woolies and Coles (including the rest of the Wesfarmers conglomerate) are the 17th and 18th largest retailers in the world out of the 250 analysed, according Deloitte's “Global Powers of Retailing” report. That’s no mean feat considering that the size of Australia’s population is dwarfed by many other countries included in the analysis. And in case you were looking for more evidence of the duopoly’s ever- increasing stranglehold on the Australian market, consider this statistic: between 2006 and 2011, Westfarmers was the fastest-growing retailer in the world.
US-based Walmart easily tops the list with annual sales of about $US447bn (the second biggest, Carrefour, brings in about one-fourth of that), but the report points out that retailers of “fast moving consumer goods” like Walmart make about 23% per cent of their revenue in other countries. Woolies and Coles currently make over $50bn each annually in Australia alone.
The report offers one bit of predictive analysis that has yet to emerge in any significant way in the Australian supermarket sector: “New competitors are disrupting the market and capturing valuable market share through innovative business models”.
On the other hand, one trend highlighted by Deloitte has emerged with a vengeance: “Many companies are now seeking to become vertically integrated by controlling the whole supply chain.”