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Coles Local and Woolies Metro vs regular supermarkets

How do these stores vary from the traditional supermarkets and what can you expect if one pops up in your area?

woolies metro coles local logos with red apples
Last updated: 19 June 2024


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Need to know

  • Products at Coles Local stores are not priced differently to full-sized Coles supermarkets but you may pay more at some Woolies Metro stores 
  • Ranges may be smaller at Woolies Metro stores but Coles says their Coles Local stores may actually carry more items
  • Both chains told us these smaller stores offer a "tailored" experience for shoppers

As supermarkets have grown more sophisticated, we've seen them tweak their ranges, their store designs and every aspect of the way they sell and market to us.

In that context, it's not surprising that they have also created new types of supermarkets: enter the Coles Local and Woolies Metro stores, increasing in number each year around the country.

But what makes these stores different to the more familiar Coles and Woolworths offerings? And what can you expect if one of them appears in your neighbourhood?


Coles Local stores are smaller and may stock some different items than regular Coles supermarkets, but the prices are the same.

What are Coles Local supermarkets?

Coles Local stores can be found in 27 locations across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. They are smaller than regular Coles supermarkets and, while they stock the same essentials as other outlets, they also offer other products you might not find in every Coles store. 

Rory McDonald is the head of Coles Local. He says that Coles Local is all about offering something a bit different to their customers.

"The Coles Local format enables Coles to serve customers from urban communities where there is high population density, the store size is smaller and there is a need to offer a more tailored experience," he says.

Coles Local vs regular Coles supermarkets: What's the difference?

According to Coles, it's all about doing more with less and encouraging innovation. They say Coles Local supermarkets can carry products from local suppliers that wouldn't be possible to stock across their entire network of supermarkets. These stores can also be a place to try out new products before rolling them out more broadly.

These stores can also be a place to try out new products before rolling them out more broadly

"Customers in our traditional supermarkets will also recognise many concepts that we initially trialled at Coles Local stores, such as Mochi ice cream, pet treat bars and freshly squeezed orange juice," says Rory. 

Is the range smaller at Coles Local supermarkets?

Not necessarily, according to Coles. They claim to deliver a higher density of range to the amount of space, and they cite the example of Coles Local North Sydney. They told us that this store will carry an additional 1200 products (eight percent more) than it did when it was a traditional Coles supermarket.

"This is a fundamental part of the Coles Local model," says Rory, adding that they aim to deliver a full basket shop even with less floor space.

Are groceries at Coles Local more expensive?

We asked Coles if products were priced differently at Coles Local stores and they told us they weren't. 

"At Coles Local, customers can complete their full weekly shop of everyday essentials at the same standard shelf prices as our traditional supermarkets," says Rory.

There was no variation in the prices of the items we looked at between the two stores

We also conducted a spot-check on 15 pantry items at a Coles Local and a traditional Coles. There was no variation in the prices of the items we looked at between the two stores. 

We did notice that two of the items on our list – Coles Simply tea bags and Coles Simply penne pasta were only available at one of the two stores – the tea bags at the Coles Local store and the pasta at the Coles regular supermarket – so it doesn't appear the presence or absence of these budget products was related to the type of store we shopped at. 

Woolworth Metro

You may pay more for some items at a Woolworths Metro than at a regular Woolworths, depending on where it is.

What are Woolworths Metro supermarkets?

There are 104 Woolies Metro stores in Australia, mostly located in CBD and inner city areas.

On average, they are smaller than the usual Woolworths supermarkets and are often found close to major railway stations and in other areas that receive a lot of foot traffic. 

Woolworths Metro stores vs regular Woolworths supermarkets: What's the difference?

It really depends, and Woolworths told us there is no one-size-fits-all format for their Metro stores.

"Woolworths Metro stores are individually designed for their specific area and have a locally tailored range of products that is continually updated based on community feedback," a spokesperson said.

Is the range smaller at Woolworths Metro?

Very likely. Woolworths told us that the average number of items in a full-sized Woolworths supermarket is up to 28,000 while at their Metro stores, it's around 10,000 products.

However, they also point out that they allow customers to influence what's in stock at their Metro outlets.

"So far we've added more than 6000 products into Metro stores based on customer feedback," their spokesperson told us. 

Are groceries at Woolworths Metro more expensive?

It depends on what kind of Metro you're shopping at. According to the Woolworths spokesperson we spoke to, if it's one of the larger, neighbourhood Woolies Metro stores, the prices and specials will be the same as at their other supermarkets.

However, if you're shopping at one of the smaller Metro stores in a high-traffic area you may indeed pay more.

 A Woolworths spokesperson told us that because these stores have higher operating costs their pricing is slightly different to reflect this

"Smaller Metros in inner city, CBD or transit-based locations are focused on convenience," a Woolworths spokesperson told us, explaining that because these stores have higher operating costs their pricing is slightly different to reflect this. "Pricing is always very competitive at a local level," they added. 

We conducted a spot check of 15 pantry items at two nearby Woolworths supermarkets – one a neighbourhood Metro store and one a full-sized supermarket – and found no difference between the prices. However, the Woolworths Wheat Biscuits breakfast cereal was not available at the Woolies Metro store we visited, meaning you'd have to pay more for the national brand equivalent, Weet-Bix, or request that the store add it to their range.

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.