Coles boss John Durkan says the supermarket giant is unfazed as larger rival Woolworths fires the starting gun on the latest price war.

Mr Durkan said Coles ­remained focused on its existing low-price strategy, regardless of moves in the sector.

It comes a week after Woolworths announced it would ­invest $500 million in lowering prices after conceding it must do more to convince shoppers it offered value for money.

The shake-up also saw ­supermarkets boss Tjeerd Jegen stand down to make way for Woolworths’ liquor head Brad Banducci.

While analysts tip the moves will spark the next wave of the drawn-out price war ­between the retailers, Mr Durkan said Coles was prepared.

“We love competition,” Mr Durkan told Business­Daily. “We don’t fear that at all. We are not changing our strategy. For five years, we’ve been lowering prices and that isn’t changing. This is a long-term effort for us.

“We will continue to do that, irrespective of what other people are doing.”

But Mr Durkan said the heightened competition would benefit shoppers’ hip pockets.

“Are consumers in for lower prices? I think, absolutely,” he said.

He expected prices to drop generally, rather than be concentrated in one or two categories such as milk and bread.

But Mr Durkan said it took more than just low prices to win over shoppers.

“Customers want to get in and out of stores easily,” he said.

“They want to get in and out quickly. They want to be greeted by a friendly face and they want to trust that the ­prices are right.

“Value is important.”

He said the supermarket landscape was changing as international competitors such as Aldi and Costco continued to gain a foothold.

“In five years, there’s going to be a raft of competition across the country,” he said.

“Technology will grow.

“It’s still going to be as competitive as ever, so customers are going to win on that.”

Extracted in full from Herald Sun.

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