Woolworths boss Brad Banducci has walked out of a heated TV interview after the supermarket giant’s pricing practices came under scrutiny.
During an ABC Four Corners investigation, journalist Angus Grigg told Banducci that Rod Sims, former head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, had described Australia as one of the most concentrated supermarket industries in the world.
Banducci said “that’s not true” and attempted to argue that the industry was, in fact, “an incredibly competitive market.”
He also noted that Mr. Sims is “retired.”
When Mr Griggs asked the Woolworths boss if he was “impugning” Mr Sims’ integrity, Mr Banducci asked: “Can we get that out of the way?” That’s ok?’
Woolworths boss Brad Banducci left an interview with ABC’s Four Corners program where he was questioned about his pricing practices.
Woolworths boss Brad Banducci (pictured) asked: “Can we remove that?” Is that okay?’, and seconds later he said, ‘I think I’m done, guys,’ and then walked out of the interview.
Grigg then said: “We’re on the record, you’ve said it…let’s move on.”
Seconds later, Mr. Banducci said, “I think I’m done, guys,” and left the room.
An astonished Grigg said: ‘Are you leaving? Actually?’ when someone approached him and said, “We’ll have a break for a second.”
Mr. Banducci eventually returned to continue the interview.
“Let’s move on,” Grigg said.
Grigg later described Banducci’s walkout mid-interview as “pretty surprising.”
“I think this really shows that the head of the country’s largest supermarket chain is not willing to face too many questions and shows how little scrutiny they have had over the years,” he said.
Four Corners also revealed on Monday night how Woolworths’ biggest rival Coles has been benefiting from higher prices, despite repeatedly saying the supermarket was doing everything it could to keep grocery bills down.
Leaked emails were shown alleging Coles received a one-off payment of $25,000 from a supplier to partially cover a price increase, but then increased the price in full anyway.
The price increase of around 5 per cent which the supplier – who was not named by ABC – sought to cover its increased costs, was initially dismissed by Coles based on “customer needs” and the “competitive environment”.
The Coles representative allegedly said that the price increase would cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars and that if they still wanted to increase the price they would have to pay compensation to close this “gap”.
“Now, honestly, this gap is made up. There is no rhyme or logic behind this,” said the source who works for the multinational supplier.
Coles and Woolworths together control 65 per cent of Australia’s grocery market.
Julian Hilliard, who has spent 38 years in retail, including working for Coles and Woolworths as a buyer, said supermarket giants rarely compete on price.
“I would probably say if you did five stores at Woolworths and five stores at Coles… there would be a difference of a few cents, maybe depending on special offers,” he said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Woolworths and Coles for comment.
Coles (pictured) and Woolworths together control 65 per cent of Australia’s grocery market