Rockhampton businessman Doug Webber hits out at supermarket giant.
Rockhampton businessman Doug Webber hits out at supermarket giant. Sharyn O'Neill

Call for government regulation of supermarket giants

RESPECTED Rockhampton businessman Doug Webber has hit out at the big supermarkets Coles and Woolies, saying they are putting smaller stores out of action.

His comments follow a story that appeared in yesterday's Morning Bulletin about a Frenchville corner shop that was closing down next month due to increased pressure from the supermarket chains.

Mr Webber said supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles were dominating the Rockhampton landscape, creating unhealthy competition among smaller, local food outlets.

"They are willing to sell products at any price to get business, whether they would lose money or not," he said.

"People should ask the government to come up with a proposal to allow so many stores in their city or town based on the population of the area.

"For instance, if Rockhampton's population was 70,000, there could be 10 butchers allowed ... that way there would still be healthy competition and a range for residents to choose from."

He said it was easy for businesses to open but then another would close down.

"Service stations, electrical, hardware and liquor stores are being affected by Woolworths and Coles," Mr Webber said.

The chain effect would also be felt by families looking for support from local suppliers.

"When mums and dads are wanting sponsorship, the people like to approach smaller businesses," Mr Webber said. "The bigger chain stores would say: 'You have to call our head office in Sydney'."