Coles sales ‘impacted’ by bag ban

Coles1Wesfarmers has seen an impact on sales as a result of the decision to phase out single-use plastic bags in Coles supermarkets, according to comments made by the conglomerate’s chief financial officer to The Australian.

Anthony Gianotti, Wesfarmers CFO, noted that forcing customers to use their own bags, or reusable plastic bags, has had a knock-on effect on sales as customers were taking longer to move through check-outs.

“Certainly one of the reasons why we extended the free plastic bags was because customers were taking some time to adjust to that and there was no doubt there was an impact (to sales)”, said Gianotti.

“I’m not going to go into the specifics around the quantum but there was certainly an impact as consumers had to change their habits around shopping.

“When we looked at the overall number there was definitely an impact and I guess it wasn’t uniform across the board, but there was an impact.”

He also admitted the phase-out could have been handled better, noting that while Coles was trying to the right thing, there has been miscommunications along the way.

“I think there was certainly never any intention to continue providing plastic bags free, forever, I think it was more of a transitional arrangement and I think it probably got lost in translation to be honest.”

Gianotti denied Coles would profit extensively from charging 15 cents per reusable bags, refuting earlier claims by Queensland University of Technology Professor Gary Mortimer, who stated the major supermarkets would be set to rake in around $71 million in gross profit from the initiative.

Mortimer also calculated the supermarkets would save $170 million a year by not providing free plastic bags.

Wesfarmers and Woolworths have been contacted for comment.

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  1. Rad posted on August 8, 2018

    They will be impacted not only because of slower check out but people will buy less. I planned big shopping on Saturday and before I left home I realised I didn't have enough of my own bags and I didn't know how many I would need to pack all the shopping that I planned. So i got fed up and only bought the very essentials not the impulse extras. I guess it will take a while for the entire process to eventually start working. People will have to start planning ahead. The spontaneous pop in to supermarket and get some stuff might also be impacted as people will realise they don't have the bags with them.

  2. Denis Mulheron posted on August 8, 2018

    Shopping is often impulse or my wife rings darling can you buy milk bread eggs .I do not carry bags in my pockets .In the US you get strong paper bags

  3. Paul Mooney posted on August 8, 2018

    To whom it may concern, I now shop at IGA ALSO if Woolworths thinks a nylon shopping bag is worth 99cents They really must think that shoppers are absolute idiots. To me that is the biggest rort of all time Woolworths are definitely one supermarket that I will definitely not be shopping at. Thanks Paul

  4. Rosanne lewis posted on August 8, 2018

    The plastic bags are an excuse to make money on people hard earn money . This is just a pathetic way of making money for each bag . 15 cent a bag is a rip. Well I think you will lose by customers not shopping at your stores .

  5. Kym posted on August 8, 2018

    As both a shareholder and a long term coles shopper I am dismayed and disgusted at the backflip. Plastic pollution is a very real and imminent threat to our environment and to us. I strongly urge coles to be a good and reputable corporate citizen and minimise plastic waste.

  6. Brittany posted on August 9, 2018

    the USA provides boxes like Bunning's here does and paper bags...I don't see why we cant also have a similar arrangement . I refuse to go to Coles now that they have gone back on their promise to stop plastic bags. We have such a major plastic problem worldwide and we should be doing our part to help.

  7. Kylie posted on August 10, 2018

    Coles and Woolworths are not being environmentally friendly. If that was their key motivator, they failed. All they have done is make people purchase and throw away plastic bags that will take longer for the breakdown process. If they had of been smart they should've gone "old school" and used paper bags.

  8. Rachelle Haines posted on August 10, 2018

    Disappointed at the backwards step, these 'reuseable' plastic bags are worse than the 'single' use ones, most complaints I heard from customers were about Coles and Woolworths profitting from the charges for the bags, surely a better solution to this would have been for Coles to donate the profits from plastic bag sales to the farmers rather than reverting to giving them foc again. To my mind this would have been a much bigger step in the right direction. For the record I'm all for banning the bags, we've been using the reuseable bags for years, you get used to it. Very rare now I get caught out without one.

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