When you go shopping for groceries anywhere in Australia, you’re probably going to end up at a supermarket run by the incumbent duopoly of Coles and Woolworths.
In the past five years the two companies have increased their share of the $112 billion grocery market from 48 per cent to 56 per cent. When combined with the growth of Aldi and Costco in Australia, the majority of independent supermarkets have now grouped together under one of two brand names: Foodworks and IGA.
One exception are three oddball supermarket chains which only exist in Melbourne.
The first chain is Sims Supermarkets, with their tagline being “The Price Crusher”. Back in the 1980s they had 11 stores around Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, but today they are down to just two – Footscray and Werribee.
My next find only exists in the eastern suburbs – Maxi Foods. With stores at Blackburn North, Carrum Downs and Upper Ferntree Gully, the parent company ‘Le Max Group’ also operates a chain of food and wine stores in the more toffish suburbs of Kew, Heidelberg and Hartwell.
And last up is the oddest supermarket chain – KFL. They don’t appear to have a parent company, but they do have a number of stores around the western suburbs, none of which look the same. Over in Footscray they appear to be more of an Asian grocer, along with their store in Racecourse Road Flemington, but over in Glenroy the KFL is just a normal supermarket co-branded under the ‘Supa IGA’ name.
And a footnote
A second group of Maxi Foods supermarkets exists in the Victorian country towns of Ballarat and Castlemaine. Founded by a Brendan Blake in 2000, going by his last name it appears he is the son of the Le Max Group founders: Leo and Rose Blake.