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Coles reveals $1.1bn profit while Aussies 'can't afford food'

Coles has posted a 4.8 per cent increase in its net profit.

Coles supermarket and shoppers.
Coles has reported a $1.1 billion net profit, as Aussies struggle with the rising cost of living. (Source: Getty/AAP)

Supermarket giant Coles has been called out for posting a big profit, as Aussie shoppers struggle to afford their groceries.

Coles announced a $1.09 billion net profit for the 12 months to June 2023, up 4.8 per cent on last financial year.

The nation’s second-biggest supermarket generated $36.7 billion in supermarket sales revenue, up by 6.1 per cent, year on year.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), who recently launched an inquiry into price gouging by big business, said hundreds of customers had accused the supermarket of price-gouging tactics.

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ACTU assistant secretary Joseph Mitchell said supermarkets were the most complained about industry to the ACTU’s call for information regarding price gouging.

“The public have been told that supply chain issues and inflation are to blame for the cost-of-living crisis. But when you see the profits like those posted today, it is legitimate to ask whether Australia’s big supermarkets have used the cost-of-living crisis as a smokescreen to push up their profit margins, despite costs decreasing for themselves,” Mitchell said.

“What this profit season suggests is that some of Australia’s biggest companies are posting significant profits, while either exploiting loopholes to drive down wages, or arguably charging more than is necessary to their customers.”

Coles and Woolworths control two-thirds of the supermarket sector in Australia, with Woolworths due to announce its profits tomorrow.

According to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, annual food inflation is at 7.5 per cent. Dairy products led the way (up 15.2 per cent), followed by bread and cereal (11.6 per cent). Price rises were softer for fruit and vegetables (1.6 per cent), and meat and seafood (3.5 per cent).

Coles noted supermarket price inflation in the fourth quarter had moderated to 5.8 per cent - down from 6.2 per cent in the third quarter. Inflation in the fresh category was 2.3 per cent in the June quarter - down from 4.1 per cent in the third quarter.

‘I often can’t buy food’

The ACTU shared some of the responses it had received from Aussies over supermarket price concerns.

“$200 used to get us a trolley worth of groceries, I literally paid $67 for 5 items on Tuesday,” Holly from Western Australia said.

“My health is suffering as I can’t afford many fresh food items. No matter how hard I budget,” Beth from Victoria said.

“As a pensioner I often can’t buy food and cleaning items I need plus I have to eat less. It also means I can’t even go out for a coffee etc. It’s very lonely,” Judi from South Australia said.

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