Editorial -Wednesday, December 10: Woolworths wants it all

NEWSAGENTS are the latest to face losing a key part of their business to the ever expanding reach of the supermarket giants.

Butchers and bakers have succumbed, and if there was a mass market for it, so would candlestick makers.

Already the poor newsagents have lost the attraction of being the sole place to buy newspapers and magazines. Now, the supermarkets are after the best attraction the agents have of luring customers into their shops.

While you might have sympathy for their plight, you should be worried about Woolworths' plans to sell pharmaceuticals from the supermarket shelf.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says Woolworths is hiring final year pharmacy students, graduating pharmacists and nurses to conduct health checks such as blood pressure and cholesterol in their stores.

Woolworths has confirmed six stores in NSW and Queensland have been trialling a system, where nurses and pharmacy students offer customers basic health checks. The retail giant has confirmed it will expand the scheme to other sites across Australia.

We should be grateful the store is offering any professional advice at all, but one wonders what will happen when the first customer complains of receiving some dodgy advice.

This sort of predatory expansion, targeting small businesses, is the area governments need to intervene in.

Supermarkets already have the advantage of convenience for most shoppers. Do they need to get into areas where they need to be offering some professional advice as well?

Tim Howard

Topics:  editorial opinion

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