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Aldi rival kaufland sets its sights on australia


´╗┐GROCERY shopping could soon become a whole lot cheaper, with a German discounter reportedly headed down under.

The parent company of supermarket chain Kaufland, an Aldi rival known for its aggressive discounting, recently moved to trademark its brand name in Australia, Fairfax Media reports.

Along with discounter Lidl, Kaufland is owned by the Schwarz Group, which lays claim to 34.5 billion ($49.4 billion) of Germanys grocery market with the combined market share putting the group ahead of Aldis 27.8 billion.

Owned by the notoriously private billionaire Dieter Schwarz, the son of founder Josef Schwarz, the group is understood to be conducting a feasibility study of the proposed expansion.

The move, if successful, could shake up Australias $90 billion grocery market with even more competition for heavyweights Woolworths and Coles.

ALDIS PLAYBOOK FOR SUCCESS

Retail veteran Brittain Ladd, an Amazon executive who specialises in supply chain and logistics, believes shoppers will be the biggest winners if the Schwarz group follows Aldis lead and brings either Kaufland, Lidl or both supermarkets to Australia.

After years of having no choice but to choose between Coles and Woolworths, consumers embraced Aldis low prices when they entered the market in 2001, Mr Ladd said in a recent blog post.

Australian consumers will benefit from having the two best discounters in the world operating throughout the continent.

He said Aldi had provided the playbook for success and the Schwarz group was sure to follow.

ased on the results from multiple consumer surveys, Australian consumers have a desire for options and low prices, Mr Ladd wrote.

FEARS FOR COLES AND WOOLIES

ut not everyone is pleased with the idea. Retail entrepreneur Dick Smith said the arrival of another German discounter would spell the end of Australian-owned supermarkets and that shoppers would be left with far less choice as a result.

Already under pressure from Aldi, which has been steadily drawing customers away from them, the major supermarkets have been scrambling to follow the German chains lead with cheaper essentials and revamped home brands.

Woolworths recently introduced a new range of what have been labelled phantom private label products, copying Aldis approach in using brand names in place of the old Woolworths Select logo.

Mr Smith predicted that these efforts would ultimately prove futile, telling news.com.au: I would imagine the two German companies would end up running Coles and Woolworths out of business.

The only way they could compete, he said, would be to very quickly sack about 80 per cent of their staff and follow the business model employed by Aldi and Kaufland.

Theyd have to reduce their product range from 30,000 down to about 2000, and then they would have a hope of competing, Mr Smith said.

AN ALL-OUT PRICE WAR

Mr Ladd said the biggest losers would be independent grocers, followed by Woolworths and Coles.

Using history as a guide, when Aldi and Lidl both enter a market, traditional supermarkets immediately attempt to compete on price with little success, he said.

All indications point to an all-out price war breaking out as Coles and Woolworths will attempt to hold onto market share with neither being successful over the long run.

Independent grocers would slowly but surely disappear from the landscape, he said.

For Dick Smith, who wants Australian shoppers to buy locally made and owned products, another German discounter would spell disaster.

At least with Coles and Woolworths, the money stays here, he said.

He said while Schwarz group would make a fortune here, it would be at the consumers expense.

Well end up with far cheaper prices, but no choice the freedom of choice will go, Mr Smith said, calling on Australians to consider the impact of sending millions of dollars to a private company in Germany.

Its extreme capitalism, its what I predicted and in the end well end up in a situation where someone like Trump gets elected, because people will be so disillusioned by there being no local jobs.

Aussie households can save more than 600 a year on electricity


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AUSSIES are about to be whacked with a huge increase in their household bills, with some states forced to pay more than $100 extra a year.

With electricity bills are expected to skyrocket in 2017 due to the closure of Victorias Hazelwood Power Station.

The latest Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) 2016 Residential electricity price trends released on Wednesday has warned of price increases across the nation.

South Australians will be hit the hardest, with $150 a year expected to be added onto household bills and Victorians will have to face paying an extra $99 while Queenslanders will pay an extra $28.

Other states could be whacked with a $78 price hike.

NSW residential electricity prices are expected to increase by 3.9 per cent on average for each of the next two years largely due to a 16 per cent increase in wholesale energy costs, AEMC chairman John Pierce said.

Electricity prices are also affected by the price for gas through gas-fired power stations, which is expected to play a larger role in the market in the future.

Any future increase in the price of gas will result in higher input costs for generators, flowing through to higher costs in the wholesale electricity market, said Mr Pierce.

The Council of Australian Governments energy council will meet in Melbourne on Wednesday to look at regulations around new interconnectors, and efforts to ensure cheaper gas supplies.

Across the national electricity market the generation mix is changing with the large-scale renewable energy target leading to substantial investment in wind generation. This is contributing to the closure of coal-fired plants and increasing wholesale prices, said Mr Pierce in a statement.

But theres an easy hack that could help you save hundreds a year.

Customer satisfaction company Canster Blue thinks moving from standard contracts to market contracts, even with the same electricity provider, is a simple way for households to save money.

A standard contract is ongoing and often has flexible billing options to help customers, but Canstar Blues Simon Downes said they did not provide discounts for customers. The terms in these types of contracts are set out by law.

However switching to a market contract could see electricity costs dramatically discounted for customers.

Market contracts are set out by electricity retailers, and have varying contract lengths and offer customers savings.

There is understandably a perception that switching energy providers is a confusing and difficult thing to do, but our findings show that many households dont even need to switch to save, Mr Downes said.

Its simply a matter of calling your retailer and asking to be moved from their standard contract to market offering.

The energy retailers wont go out of their way to help customers switch from these old, expensive contracts to cheaper alternatives, so consumers need to be proactive. If you dont ask, you wont get.

Also pick up the phone for your parents or grandparents, because the majority of customers on standard contracts are likely to be older people, or those who are simply unaware of what options are available to them.

According to Canstar Blue, the Australian Energy Regulator showed one in four households in NSW and South East Queensland were still on standard contracts.

About 10 per cent of households in Victoria and 15 per cent of households in South Australia are also paying more than they have to.

Households in South East Queensland could save $285 a year by changing their contract and people in NSW could save as much as $400.

The savings are even better in South Australia and Victoria, where households can save more than $600.

But Canstar Blue said the savings were only possible if customers stuck by the conditions of market contracts.

Discounts are given to customers who pay on time, or by direct debit, but those who fail to pay bills will actually be slapped with more costs.

Canstar Blue found these costs could sometimes exceed the costs of standard contracts.

Its often the case that the energy plans with the highest discounts also have the highest usage rates, so you need to be aware that failing to meet the conditions will leave you paying a high price. Therefore, if you dont have confidence that youll be able to meet the terms of your market contract, look for the plans with the cheapest rates, rather than those with the highest discounts, Mr Downes said.

It is possible that customers could switch from a standard contract to a market offer and be even worse off.

Its all about understanding what type of contract youre on and making sure you meet the conditions. Many families struggle with the price of power, but there is an opportunity to save with minimal effort required.

In NSW, AGL and EnergyAustralia customers who change contracts could save almost $400.

Origin customers could save almost $300 and those connected by Dodo Power and Gas could save more than $400.

AGL customers in Victoria could save $445, EnergyAustralia customers could save $520, and Dodo Power and Gas customers could save $605.

Origin could discount customers $460 if they changed over their contracts.

South Australians can save $344 if theyre with AGL, $669 with EnergyAustralia and $447 with Origin.

AGL and EnergyAustralia customers in Queensland could save more than $200 and Dodo Power and Gas and Origin customers could save just over $150.

with AAP