Very Few Supermarket Specials

Looks like Woolworths and Coles are somewhat taking advantage of the current situation. Very few specials.

Woolworths did not release a formal catalogue, because they are unsure of supply, but going by searches of the stuff I buy relatively frequently (and usually has specials), the numbers of things on special has been cut hard.

With Coles, when you do the search, not many things even come back. [ maybe there are specials, but they don't show in the online search because there is no stock ].

But yes, things like Junk Food ( Chips, Lollies, Chocolate, Icecream, etc) are usually on 2 or 3 week special cycles. Very little of it is on special now.

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  • +13


    • -3

      The entitlement mentality by OP is kinda breathtaking.

      Apparently "not giving discounts" is taking advantage.

      • +3

        Why are you even on Ozebargain? It’s a legitimate observation. I thought one of the key unspoken tenets of OZB is to seek bargains. Not all people are privileged to pay full price.

        • +2

          Seek bargains. Not expect them, feel entitled to them, and accuse others of things when they don't offer them.

          Discounts are not a right.

  • +3


  • +9

    Just buy what you need and get over it.

  • +10

    faq the specials. you want everyone to unnecessarily leave their house for half price up and go??
    i dont think the supermarkets are trying to entice people to come out and play right now.

    • +5

      i dont think the supermarkets are trying to entice people to come out and play right now.

      Oh really? They sort of are, in a round about way…even if the reason behind it is valid.

      We will still continue to have a wide range of products on special each week in store and encourage customers to keep an eye out on the yellow tickets when they visit their local Coles store.

      • +3


        Coles should actually remove that announcement as it can encourage people to search for the specials tickets and therefore remain in store for a longer time period than they would otherwise.

  • Ok

  • +3

    I don't think they are taking advantage of the situation.

    They are discouraging hoarders so that there is more stock for everyone and there are less empty shelves.

  • +5

    These days, just happy to find grocery items that we need.

  • +7

    Seems reasonable to me; they can't guarantee what stock will be in store so can't advertise the discounts accordingly.
    They can't guarantee stock levels because of customer behaviours in hoarding, requiring more stock of 'essentials' needing to be transported at the expense of the less essential 'specials'.

  • +10

    I love this sense of entitlement and expectation, the supermarkets are in no way obliged to offer specials, they do so to get us in the door. Right now there is no need to do this as we already are racing to their door and then there is the supply issue. The demand is there the supply is not so by nature of economics prices go up, but they have not, all the supermarkets have done is return the items back to their normal price and as they are unable to supply the demand they do not want to breach the Trade Practices Act.

    I bet you if they advertised something you wanted and it was not available we would be reading this same thread next week talking how there was no stock of Item X that was advertised.

    • I used to work with woolies (but no longer do)
  • +1

    My local Coles had signs saying that there wouldn't be a printed catalogue. Perhaps people have been taking them to use as toilet paper, or perhaps the paper usually used to print them has been diverted to the toilet paper war effort?

  • +6

    Just a side note that when coles/woolies/iga(metcash) runs these specials, basically the supplier wears most of the cost value that is discounted. If you are a small business, you can make actually make a loss during a 25-50% sale.

    • Good point.
      Add dairy farmers to that.

    • Yeah I always assumed it was the suppliers. Otherwise, Coles and Woolies would have to communicate with each other the week before to agree who gets the 1/2 price special per product that week, since it's almost never synchronised.

      • +2

        The scheduling for sales is put in to the system 4-6months in advance. I assist in putting the inputs for sales for Woolies in a state scale (my products are not national). We had a notification from them about 2 weeks ago stating they will cancel the specials entered in for the upcoming 4 cycles we had left.

        we will put our sales up when the competitors is at full price to drive the sales and hopefully people come back to us at the full cost if they like our product

        Out of the main 3 Distributors for supermarkets, Woolies is the best as a supplier side.

        • +1

          Sorry, could you clarify who "we" are in the bold section? And who "they" are that told you to cancel the specials. This is intriguing.

          • @peterpeterpumpkin: "We" My company put up the sales when the competitors prices are at full price.
            "They" the consumer try our product and like it enough to continue purchasing that item at the full price on their next shop over the other brands.

            The general concept does work and the information provided to us by the distributor(woolies) tells us unit sales when at full price and when it is discounted.
            I just wished it worked a lot better. Just an FYI, I am in the olive oil industry and it is pretty cut throat. Margins are tight as is and with the current situation with fires now the virus, it makes it difficult to make any money for a small business.

            • -1

              @emrifusion: You realise that olive oil isn't exactly something most people buy regularly?

              I don't do the shopping, but I think it's one of the things where you buy one maybe every few months.

            • @emrifusion: Thanks for the info.

              How do you know your conpetitor's price if it's inputted months in advance? I assume it's changeable with enough notice?

      • Yeah I always assumed it was the suppliers. Otherwise, Coles and Woolies would have to communicate with each other the week before to agree who gets the 1/2 price special per product that week, since it's almost never synchronised.

        They are for Golden Crumpets. If Coles doesn't have it for half pice, Woolies will and vice versa. Not this week beginning today though (however that's a rare occurrence)

        • +2

          Yeah, that's what I'm referring to (I meant synchronised as in "at the same time", rather than co-ordinated, which it most certainly is).

          I like having only a 100 m walk between the two, and often educate other customers buying a dozen of full price Tim Tams for a party. Just a shame I don't have an ALDI nearby as well.

        • +1

          They're not always half price, sometimes they're two-for-one which would explain why they're not on sale this week (nearly all multi-buy specials were cancelled).

          • @ssquid: Yeah but usually if someone has 2 for 1, the other will have half price (I don't buy 2 for 1 because it's more expensive and I'm the only household member who eats crumpets; yes I know you can freeze them)

            Woolworths had a two item limit on bakery goods but I don't think it extended to crumpets.

  • -1

    They are taking full advantage of this situation. Anyone making excuses for Coles and Woolies is delusional. The fat cat CEOs are sitting back rubbing their hands with glee.

    • Wools might not be rubbing their hands with glee considering they’re still tied up with ALH or whatever they’re called. Then again…

    • So you're not a shareholder? Your super fund doesn't invest in one of the biggest employers of Australian people?

  • As mentioned above, buy what you need and get over it.

    If a supermarket is not on sale, it is not encouraging you to physically go ( to catch or spread the virus).

  • There may be cynical reasons, but to defend the supermarkets, they have to fill trucks with essentials and not unsold pizza shapes new recipe near date junk.

  • Plenty of 50% off yellow stickers in my local Coles today.

    • I saw a few too but definitely less than normal. On the other hand I didn't see any half price stickers at all at Woolies.

      • Less than normal because they have to discard all the multi-buy specials (e.g. buy 3 save 25%) due to limit restrictions.

  • I still can't find loo paper or flour despite going to several coles/woolies around Sydney

    • A whole pallet of flour at Coles Penrith this morning.

  • OK Poomer

  • +5

    I understand that there are many reasons why sales might have been removed. However it gives me anxiety to do grocery shopping and pay full price for everything.

  • +1

    If I were Coles/Woolies I would do the same thing, why discount when people are fighting each other to buy my stuff?

  • +2

    Good thing we stocked up on specials ;)

    • thanks to ozbargain.

  • -1

    I'm surprised both of these price gouging greedy pigs haven't sunk the slipper in weeks ago. WTF, why are Ozbargainers standing up for these two companies. They are the enemy of the Australian grocery shopper. It's been a long time since they killed of most of their competition. Losing interest in bargains on Ozbargain is a worry. Coles and Woolworths are the natural enemy of this site.

    • +2

      They are both despicable organizations and I can't believe anyone would stand up for them. I would never work for either of them. I only shop there for specials, their fruit and vegetable prices and quality is an absolute joke even under normal circumstances.

      • +2

        Thank god someone with commonsense.

    • +1

      Having an interest in bargains doesn't necessitate a break with reality and feeling entitled to discounts.

      • +1

        Most of Australia (sorry, The World) Is on the back foot at the moment. A supermarket monopoly decides to take advantage of the situation and your OK with that. Coming on this site looking for bargains is not feeling entitled.
        Joe Hockey once told Australia the days of entitlement were over. I'm sure he didn't include himself though.

        • +2

          Coming here looking for sales isn't entitlement. Feeling aggrieved because there aren't any for Coles/Woolies absolutely is - you're literally saying you're entitled to discounts.

          • +2

            @HighAndDry: Your really twisting things around here. Why is wanting supermarket specials being entitled. What I am trying to say is that these greedy pigs profits would be going through the roof They have sold so much shit that they are unable to keep their shelves filled and this week Woolworths have gone greedy!
            Many on here have noticed what they are doing. You don't seem to want to know.

            • +2

              @fritz and sauce: Do you work for Woolies or have any supermarket management experience? I'm guessing no, so you shouldn't make assumptions about their bottom line. Supermarkets are made up of millions of moving parts and external costs that have also gone through the roof due to the coronavirus.

              Their head offices are probably working from home so lost productivity. Investors are bailing out everywhere. Staff are leaving due to the abuse. Their warehouses can't fill all the orders. They're experiencing massive PR pressure. The list goes on. Its not as simple as offering discounts wjust because lots of people seem to be buying.

              • +1

                @SlavOz: Rubbish…. these 2 companies dominate the grocery market and there is no other competition around, sans Aldi. They manipulate, twist the cost of products and screw suppliers like there is no tmrw.

                • +3

                  @82norm: Woolies, Coles, IGA, Aldi, and Costco. That's 5 major players in the market. Then you have smaller chains like Primo who sell speciality stuff. Plus I have at least 10 independent grocery stores nearby.

                  I dont see why you want to punish companies for getting ahead. It's that same greed you condemn them for which makes it possible to provide you with a fully stocked supermarket on every corner, until 10pm every night. You dont get that from most chains in Australia nor do you get anything close to that level of convenience in any other country (coming from someone who's lived in multiple countries in the past).

                  And if you have dietary restrictions, trust me Coles and Woolies have by far the widest range of speciality foods which are essential for some people. In other chains or even in major grocers in other countries there's not nearly as much availability of gluten free or other speciality foods.

                  Sounds like you're just bitter because Coles and Woolies are making money. Who told you they were a charity? Theyre in business mate, what else is new…

            • +2

              @fritz and sauce: Thanks mate….. someone with common sense logical thinking.
              I can’t find any logic why people would defend these companies. They are massively taking advantage of the situation. And surprise, surprise watch there profit ratings go up and share prices…. bloody pigs alright.

              The fact that Coles kept the 10c instead of passing it onto the farmers says it all. Makes me sick.

              • +2

                @82norm: If the demand is already so high and then they put things on special it's only going to exacerbate the bulk buying issue. I guarantee if there were specials and customers cleared the shelves, OP would be crying about the masses purchasing too much.

                SalvOZ really has a point. You've got to consider the lesser of the evils - I've been to almost all asian countries and rarely saw any supermarkets, with the exception of china. There are no supermarkets, only corner shops that have very limited range who, in the current situation, wouldn't even be open for business because they can't secure the required supply and handle the logistical demand.

                Given you now know the aforementioned, what would you do if you were woolies or coles?

  • -2

    Look…. we are in a crisis now… have you been reading the news…. an all as you are worried about is specials

    • +1

      some can do both and it may be a good distraction as well (as long as you know and follow the correct safety rules).

    • +2

      You’re missing the point. Look at it another way. Let’s say your one of the poor victims whose lost their job. You think it be nice paying full fare for groceries? Given their massive sales on everything, they could cut some slack and offer some discounts across the board.

      • +1

        This is a very narrow view of how things work and you're purely looking at it from an empathic view of the disadvantaged. While a valid concern, it's not how business works.

      • Lets say they offer discounts across the board, then massive crowd comes to shop and spread the virus to everyone, all the shelfs stays empty, more people can't buy what the want. Surefire disaster.

  • The Woolies and Coles catalogues were missing from the bunch we got in the letterbox this week, but there was a huge Super Cheap Auto one! Aldi also did one.

    I remember a supermarket AMA thread on here some time ago and the person revealed that the weekly supermarket catalogs are planned many months in advance by working with suppliers to give them ample heads up. Since all the panic buying has completely messed up their usual organising of supplies and deliveries, I'd say there was no time to organise a catalogue for this week, and they need time to reorganise catalogues that would have been signed off months ago.

    • They would definitely plan months out, but it's FMCG, they are not signing off catalogues months in advance. They need to be able to stay reactive to the market.
      It would be 3 Weeks for printed catalogues at the very most. If they wanted to put out a printed catalogue at the moment, they definitely could.

      It's not really black and white like most people seem to think. Some decisions they've made are better for the customer, Woolworths and suppliers. Some decisions are better for Woolworths and Suppliers. Some decisions are better for Woolworths. But most importantly, all decisions can be argued that they are better for the customers and suppliers…

    • +1

      Woollies and coles did have smaller digital catalogue but they both were just filled mostly with easter eggs. Also despite coles being 16 pages or so it was full of recipes. Had a bit of a laugh because you kinda need stock in your stores to cook recipes unless you hoarded.

  • +4

    It’s ridiculous went to both Woolworths and Coles today. Woolworths has essentially no specials while Coles had less than usual and less quality. These companies have already put their prices up to pretend they are having enticing half price sales when they are in fact more like 20% off sales. Now they are not only charging full price but their inflated full price. I just feel for people struggling now who can’t find half the things in store and when they do they have to pay top dollar.

  • +1

    I have a few woolies accounts (some active, some dormant). Usually at least one has a "Spend XX get YY points" special.

    This week - nothing. It's almost as if all their competitors were closed.

  • Yes.

  • -1

    They have been reaming everyones arse for years and years. You have just become used to it

  • +2

    Fair observation, and of course they are taking advantage of the situation - they are businesses and not charity organisations. People need to start to see them for what they are: they are businesses. Period. When there is demand, there is no discount. Fingers crossed that we eventually get over this virus thing, and then you can expect toilet paper to be on extreme discount for months and months to come. Economics 101.

    Same thing a while ago with the whole baby formula. Huge blame on Chinese buyers, while the formula companies are portrayed as victims. No one talked about the millions and millions spent by the formula companies on advertising in mainland China, and the multimillionaire shareholders of the baby formula companies thanks to the hype created…

  • +1

    Specials are really helpful when your on a tight budget. This is a disappointing side effect.

    Its not just specials though. Say with toilet paper its starting to come in but for example coles is not supplying the homebrand 18 pack for $5.50 but the quilton 20 pack for $10.00. So almost double the price for just 2 extra rolls. So its also paying a higher amount for items that you usually buy in homebrand but having to pay for brand name.

  • Agree with OP, They don't need to give specials now and people will still buy things at full price.

  • +1

    I managed to find some specials at Coles by searching last night. At least three pretty good specials. Bulla 2L, Arnotts Chocolate Block and Kirks 1.25L Soft Drink ( I don't think they were showing in search results when I initially posted this thread ).

    However, you go to Woolworths site, filter for specials, and across the whole site there are 30 things on special ( and about 28 are easter specials, which is just them marking down the inflated price of 'novelty' chocolate ).