SUPERMARKET giant Woolworths has been lifting grocery prices in a move aimed at offsetting weakness at Masters and Big W, a report from Citigroup says.
But the supermarket giant claims the analysis was unrepresentative.
The research paper, authored by analyst Craig Woolford, said alternative explanations for the price hikes include that Woolworths was building a war-chest for promotional pricing, is using the price lever to more effectively fight (competitor) Aldi, or is simply passing on supplier cost increases.
The report notes the price increases in May and June were driven by Woolworths and not always copied by Coles.
"In addition, a range of suppliers have not actually raised prices. The price increases began in May 2014 and in some cases they were not triggered by suppliers," the report states.
Woolworths has reportedly said the sample of "10 unrepresentative items cannot accurately represent prices for an average shopper".
Hitting the hip pocket
- On the list that Citi provides the biggest Woolworths jump in price was for San Remo pasta, which rose 8.7%, the next biggest rise on the list was for SPC baked beans which rose 7.7%.
- Some Pura and Farmers Union products, CSR white sugar, Kraft peanut butter, Mother baby formula and Powerade all rose between 2-3%.