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US: WA has nation's most expensive groceries

Just months after its GroceryChoice bid was canned by the Federal Government, the consumer group Choice has delivered some bad news for WA supermarket shoppers.

Its annual survey of grocery prices has found shoppers in the state still pay more for their groceries than any of the mainland states, mirroring a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics study.

The Choice survey drilled down past state capitals though, and found Bunbury residents paid more for a trolley of 35 items than any of the 23 other major cities and towns studied.

Shoppers in the South West town paid $136.79. The other WA areas surveyed fared little better, with Perth ranked 20th, with a spend of $132.87, just behind Albany ($131.67).

Geelong was the cheapest, at $123.15.

The WA average was $133.37, ahead only of Tasmania, maintaining their respective positions from last year's survey. NSW took over as the cheapest state for groceries from Queensland.

A large part of the reason WA shoppers paid more was the absence of a low-cost competitor like Aldi, Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said.

Aldi supermarkets were the cheapest nationally, with baskets costing $94.69 if specials were excluded. Woolworths was next, at $136.49, followed by Coles ($136.52), IGA ($147.73) and FoodWorks ($162.60).

"The presence of Aldi in the eastern states provides more competition to Woolworths and Coles, which encourages the big two to price more keenly," Mr Zinn said.

The possible presence of Aldi has been used in the retail trading hours debate to argue for liberalisation, but the German-owned supermarket chain has ruled this out.


Publication date: 12/1/2009


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