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Australian government urged to support breakup of supermarket giants

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Calls for Australia’s antitrust regulator to be granted authority to break up supermarket behemoths Woolworths and Coles resounded in a Senate inquiry.

The National Farmers Federation Horticulture Council, representing growers, decried the dominance of the “large corporate duopoly,” insisting that divesting assets from these giants could inject much-needed competition into the market and benefit both producers and consumers.

“The ability to divest, from a government policy point of view, should never be taken off the table,” said Council member Jeremy Griffith during the inquiry’s hearings.

“From a competition point of view, in five years time, we could be in a lot more competitive position than we’re in now.”

Market dominance

The spotlight has intensified on Woolworths and Coles in recent years, with concerns about their market dominance exacerbated by two years of high inflation. The combined grocery sales of these giants account for approximately two-thirds of Australia’s market, rendering it one of the most concentrated in the world.

Despite repeated calls for change, the centre-left Labor government has not disclosed its stance on potential reforms, while the rural-focused opposition party, the Nationals, has rejected compulsory breakup proposals.

Representatives from Woolworths and Coles were not immediately available for comment, but they defended their operations in written submissions to the inquiry, citing Australia’s highly competitive grocery sector with some of the world’s lowest profit margins.

They also highlighted newer entrants like ALDI as contributing to competitive pressures.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

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Workers rush back to their desks over job fears

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Workers across Australia are rushing back to their desks, driving office utilisation rates to their highest levels since February 2020.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays emerge as the busiest in-office days, contrasting with the continued reluctance to return on Fridays.

This insight, drawn from XY Sense data based on 18 enterprise customers in Australia employing approximately 68,000 individuals across 127 buildings, reflects a significant shift in workplace dynamics.

The surge in office attendance coincides with a resurgence in workplace attendance mandates and policies linking physical presence to bonuses and performance reviews.

However, co-founder of XY Sense, Alex Birch, suggests that rising job insecurity, rather than these policies, primarily drives this behavioral shift.

“The pendulum has moved towards the employer, and therefore people feel more obliged to go back into work,” commented Mr. Birch.

Job market

Danielle Wood, chairwoman of the Productivity Commission, anticipates this trend to persist as the job market softens.

She notes a disparity between employer and worker perceptions regarding the productivity benefits of hybrid work arrangements, hinting at potential shifts in the employment landscape.

Meanwhile, economists at the e61 Institute observe a partial reversal of the pandemic-induced “escape to the country” trend.

Rent differentials between regional and capital city dwellings, which narrowed during the pandemic, are now widening again.

This trend suggests a diminishing appeal of remote work options and a return to urban commuting.

Aaron Wong, senior research economist at e61, said the emergence of a “new normal,” characterised by a hybrid lifestyle that blends access to office spaces with proximity to lifestyle amenities such as natural landscapes.

While regional rents decline, rents for homes on the urban fringe surge, reflecting evolving preferences shaped by remote work opportunities.

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Why resilient economy is fuelling demand for Australian property

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Despite inflationary pressures, Australian house prices have surged to a record high for the fifth month in a row, as indicated by CoreLogic data.

Australian house prices have not only weathered inflation but have also soared to unprecedented levels, marking the fifth consecutive month of record highs, according to data from CoreLogic.

This resilience reflects the enduring demand for property in the country, showcasing the sustained interest of buyers despite challenging economic conditions.

VentureCrowd’s Head of Property, David Whitting, talks how investors can access alternative ways of property investing.

Presented by VentureCrowd #funding futures #housing #economy

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Three reasons why you don’t need to panic about inflation

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Inflation in the US has exceeded expectations for the third consecutive month, driven by increases in essential commodities such as oil, electricity, takeaway food, and medical costs.

  1. Despite a 3.8% year-on-year rise in CPI, it’s notable that this figure has decreased from its previous 9% high.
  2. The robust CPI and economic growth numbers suggest a positive outlook for US corporate earnings.
  3. The S&P500 has seen five 1% drops this year, all of which were met with investors buying the dip.

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