Sneaky (and Other) Price Increases

Coles appears to have started sneakily increasing prices for some of their Coles branded products.

A fortnight ago, Hass avocadoes were on special for $1 each, last week they were $1.20 each, and this week they are on “special” for $1.40 each.

Coles instore 680gm loaves of bread have increased from the long time price of $2 a loaf to $2.20 each.

Coles 2kg packs of white sugar have jumped from the long term price of $1.80 each to $2.20 each.

Definitely well ahead of the CPI.

And undoubtedly, there are numerous other increases that I have not noticed as yet.

“Softly, softly, catchee monkey”?

Perhaps a new advertising campaign?

“Up, Up, Prices Are Up”.



What is ‘sneaky’?

Virtually every seasonal and perishable item has price swings. Even the venerable cold storage apple is subjected to price swings, and f&v is sometimes priced as loss leaders to get shoppers in between ‘regular’ prices, so the sale prices look more attractive.

As for the rest, rising prices are a fact of retail. I have been surprised grocery/food items have stayed where they are for as long as they have.

How is raising them ‘sneaky’? Are you expecting an advertising blitz ‘New Higher Prices at Coles’ when they do? It is not as if Woolies has not also been raising many prices over recent months.



How would they have raised the price of the bread or sugar in a non-sneaky way?

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The market is awash with avocadoes and stalls at Rustys Market are selling them for as little as 5 for $2.

Irrespective, to sell something for weeks as being on special at $1 each, then increase the price to $1.20 each, and then still claim it is on special for $1.40 each is a clear breach of the ACL.

In exactly the same way as they promote their price decreases on their website and with the green and white labels on the shelves, even when the price drop was often more than a year ago.

Did you get some at this price, seems very cheap if they are okay size?

We are lucky that we live where there is competition for most things. As there is competition like that you have found for avocados, one isn’t compelled to purchase the avocados where the prices are more expensive.

Good luck if Coles sells them for $1.40 (which is very cheap compared to recent historical retail prices) when they can be bough cheaper elsewhere.


Not surprised that prices rises under the cover of the coronavirus are taking place. I saw that vodafone also increased some of their overseas call (per minute) rates for prepaid customers by 50%. Again, with no fanfare.

Of course the other tricky behaviour of both Coles and Woolworths is that they often change prices in tandem. Woolworths also raised the prices of avocado, now to $1.50. Staples like home brand serviettes in both stores sell for exactly $0.95 for 100 (1-ply).

IMHO, Coles is still the better corporate citizen as it has reverted to the pre-corona situation in making refunds on all goods when a customer claims a change of mind. Woolworths in my experience will grudgingly offer an exchange but no refund. Even for same day purchases.


Why didn’t you just go over to Rusty’s and buy there? FWIW avos at Woolies (Melbourne metro) this morning were $1.40. Last week they were $1.

Do you want them to use a red [or pick a colour] ‘hot price rise’ tag or one showing ‘was $1.40, now only $1.80’ ? Have you suggested that to their management, and if so, how did they respond?

I presume you have thus filed a formal complaint?

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I was at Rustys Market yesterday and I did not buy any as I did not want any.

I was merely trying to defend consumers from being ripped off as apparently no one else is interested in doing so.

Coles and Woolies never provide the courtesy of a reply.

With who? Coles or the useless clowns at the ACCC?

Are you familiar with the economic concepts of place and time utility? Just because an offer is not at the lowest price does not mean some consumers would not find it value for one or another reason. Sometimes a product being in the right place at the right time will command a premium as compared to being available for less across town (place utility), or worse on backorder or on a truck that will come ‘tomorrow’ when you need it now (time utility).

I have not received replies but I have seen evidence my complaints went through the system and were actioned by changes being apparent. I’ll take that above getting a scripted platitude.

My operative approach is that if I have what I perceive to be an issue but have not complained to a responsible party with the delegation to do something about it, I do not have a problem, I have a whinge or irritation.

Still in progress then?

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Aldi is a classic i tell you every week the price is different of the overall shop i never understand it

How would they have raised the price of the bread or sugar in a non-sneaky way?

What is the problem with the colour of the label? Can you explain? I can’t see how it makes any difference.

How did you come to the conclusion that these price rises are under the cover of COVID?

Do you seriously expect vendors to spend money advertising price rises?

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Rusty’s as in Cairns direct from the grower?


Or from the local wholesalers.

At one stage, they advertised that all the produce was local…

I was not aware of cherries being grown in FNQ, especially in winter when the supermarkets stock US cherries.


Oh that’s so bad it’s funny!

I used to love going to Rusty’s when I lived at Kewarra Beach thanks to a Navy posting. Best prices and the best bananas I’ve had in Australia.


True I would not expect price rises to be advertised by the retailer, but I guess there should be a third party monitoring and exposing these acts. I recall many years ago a subsidiary of NSW supermarket chain Franklins gave birth to a subsidiary, Franklins Big Fresh. Initially good prices for decent products. Soon after its launch however many of its fresh items kept their prices static but dropped their volume or weight.

I guess that, amongst other reasons may be why that subsidiary went out of business and in time so did Franklins itself.
People can be fooled for so long, until they no longer can be fooled.


Price rises in food are an expected outcome. Prices will not remain at lower levels, they will increase or should increase over time. In New Tech, prices usually are high to recover cost of innovation at the beginning but decrease over time as the range ages and newer products come into the market. Food however is largely very mature prices so cost of production and sales influence the costs that must be passed on so they can usually only go upwards. There may be small downward shifts due to specials or similar but we don’t or shouldn’t expect prices to forever remain at lower levels.

Because many of our goods are owned and or produced by foreign business it isn’t always our costs that produce price rises.


Best I ever saw was a “special” that was displayed in two different places within the same Coles supermarket. And where it was “on special”, the price was higher than the price where it was on display in its normal position. No it wasn’t a different anything - box, quantity, whatever. They were exactly the same.
Sigh - I suppose accidents happen - I would have thought their computer would have prevented that one, but apparently not.


A Coles shop has becoming steadily more expensive quarter by quarter. Little price increases everywhere. Bread rolls, baked instore that used to be $2:50 a pack of 3 suddenly jump to $3:00 a pack. Cashews that were $14 a pack jump to $18 etc etc etc.


Woolworths Bread Grain Loaf 800g and similar were $3 each, and regularly on sale at two loaves for $5. In the last month (I think) the price on special for two loaves is $5.50, and the specials are more infrequent.