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Supermarket Self Checkouts And Retail Theft

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What Are The Causes Of Coles’ Own Internal Brand?

What Are The Causes Of The Checkout Problem In Coles Supermarket?

How Does The Management Team Cause Or Affect These Problems?

What Are The Effects Of These Management Problems To The Business Operations And Performance?

What Are The Possible Solutions To These Management Problems?




Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Limited, commonly known as Coles Supermarket is a chain of many supermarkets owned by the Wesfarmers Company. The supermarket has its headquarters located in Melbourne, Australia but has stores in Sydney and Australia cities as well (Cleary and Lopez, 2007). Apparently, the supermarket already has around 700 hundred store in Australia which have been operational for over 100 years now. Coles has employed more than 100, 000 employees in their stores and supermarket. Apparently, it is the second largest grocery chain in Australia due to lack many supermarket chains in the country (Keith, 2012). The grocery stores and market in Australia are extremely limited in number. Therefore, the market has always been dominated by just two companies, Woolworths and Coles. However, there are other stores and supermarket coming up to fill the gap for low cost groceries in the Australian market, e.g. the Aldi grocery store which is an expansion of German grocery store. With the stiff competition currently in the Australian market, Coles, Woolworths and other local stores have to device new ways to be better than the new store, Aldi. Apparently, the supermarket certainly have to rely on their management team to make the right and effective decision to make it happen (Hamzaoui-Essoussi and Zahaf, 2011). Despite the fact that Coles has been facing immense problems with its management team, the business has to find methods of solving those problems in order for it to stay in the market (Lyons, 2007). Therefore, apart from offering their online sales, door step deliveries and other method of operations, the supermarket should invest in its management system simply because business management team is the heart of every organization.


Coles Management Problems

The supermarket’s management team has been experiencing two main problems, they are:

Coles’ Internal Product Brand

The supermarket has a lot of challenges and struggles when it comes to its private label brand especially against Aldi supermarket. This is mainly for the supermarkets private and Home brand labels. When the business introduced its new product brand, it expected to sell large volumes of the brand but that was not the case. Aldi, rival also created its new private brand but lowered the prices way lower that of Coles’ brand. Therefore, that led to brand failure after a few years and later Coles had to lower its prices with very high margins to attract its customers once more. Also, there are many cases related to product recalls for the Coles supermarket, e.g. fresh Hilo milk, fresh full cream milk, packaged bread rolls, beetroot dip to name just a few of them. This means that this products may not have been reviewed effectively and proven to be fit for consumer use.

This is basically a problem for the management team. Very management team in a business should ensure that the market is will analyzed and evaluated before they decide to introduce a new product in the market. In general terms, it is the responsibility of the management to approve a product’s success rate in the market. Therefore, Coles’ management team failed to ensure that the product was up for success before it was introduced in the market. Also, the management team failed to ensure that the products that were sold in the supermarket had been reviewed and approved for human consumption (Rungie and Laurent, 2012). It is the responsibility of every management team to ensure that the products are safe to be used by the consumers, e.g. by conduct product reviews to ensure quality, safety and cleanness.

Check Out Problem

Over a number of years now, Coles Supermarket has been using the self- serve checkout system to serve its customers. In this system, the customers are supposed to pick up their intended products, fit item into the shopping trolley or bag and check them out on their own, i.e. registered the items in the paying machine by themselves (Dwivedi et al, 2010). However, this type of system has created increase in customer unrest in the supermarket. The system has also caused other problems like:

  • Increase in theft and shop lifting cases
  • Time wastage for customers because of the long queues made to record the items.
  • The customers are made to wait for a long time before they actually check themselves out
  • The system increases the chances of making the customer unhappy because they are not physically served by a person but a machine
  • There are chances that different types of customers arrive at the supermarket, e.g. thieves
  • Increase in customer service machines breakdown

The introduction of any technology, product, service or anything else related to a business is the responsibility of the business management team. Business managers have the responsibility of making business decisions, either final or debatable decisions (Taylor, 2016). Therefore, for the case of Coles Supermarket, the management team failed to make the right decision in relation to the type technology to be used by the business. Apparently, the business was not really ready for the new technology to be implemented in its operations but still was (Hol et al, 2014). Additionally, the technology itself was not effective or efficient for implementation but the management still implemented it in the supermarkets system. This means that the management team did not conduct enough research before it approved the usage of the technology or rather they thought that the tech logy would be effective for the Supermarket’s operations (Price, 2011). However, the team was wrong and therefore has been causing a lot of damage to the business’s operations.

A research program is an activity/schedule plan that helps an individual in completing a certain project or research. The research plan indicates the time, the place and the person in charge of performing the activity. In this research, the following plan will be used:


Research Question

The first step was identifying the research question to be studied. The question was supposed to relate to decision making and problem solving subject. This meant that the topic was to be related to business management issues, especially those that touched on decision making processes.

Research Background

This will involve identifying the company to use for the research and learning all about it. Therefore, the researcher will research on the business’s history of origin, the products or services they offer, the type of management structure used, its competitors and the different kinds of problems facing it (Bryman and Bell, 2015). Apparently, I was able to identify Coles Supermarket.


In this step, the researcher was able to identify the research questions for the topic. The questions were supposed to touch on the identified problems faced by the business chosen. Also, the questions were supposed to concentrate entirely on the management problems facing the business chose, i.e. the management problems facing Coles Supermarket.

Literature Review

This activity involved researching deeper on the identified business and its business operations that relate to the topic. During this activity, the researcher was able to review different information material sources, e.g. (journals, books, Google scholar and other online materials with an aim of finding any information data that was related to the topic. From the literature review, the researcher was able to give more details on the topic in question, but in relation to the business identified. The research review helped the researcher analyze and evaluate the issues studied and relation to the business in question.


This step was meant for concluding the research by listing down the results or the findings. The results were used to provide the causes of the problems and give suitable recommendations for the research. Also, the finding were able to answer the research questions.


Every business management team is always challenged by different challenges and problems that hinder success of its responsibility. A management team should be made up of experienced, skilled and individuals with expertise. This is because the management team is mean to lead, direct, organize, plan and control all the business operations. This means that the managers are expected to make the decisions and ensure that they are adhered to. However, these decisions should be focused on increasing the business performance in all fields, i.e financial, production, procurement, human resource, supply chain, logistics. All of these fields, are managed by a manager or a group of managers who are responsible for all the activities that are conducted there. In that case, it is important to note that if the decisions made by the management team are wrong, then the whole business will be affected.

For instance, Coles Supermarket has been facing challenges with its private product brand and the checkout system installed for its customers. From the research, the supermarket has been struggling to improve the performance of its private product brand without success. This is because the brand’s quality is not as high as that of its competitor, Aldi. Additionally, the price set for the brand are extremely high compared to those of Aldi’s. Therefore, these negative characteristics of the brand technically fail to attract customers and instead they drive them away (Faulkner et al, 2014). Also, the self-serve checkout system that Coles uses is not effective, instead it causes more additional problems especially towards the customers. From the research, it is the managers’ responsibility to ensure that the decisions they make are to improve the business’s performance (Griffith, 2010). The decision to introduce new private brand, price setting and the usage of the self-service checkout system was made by the management team. However, their poor decision making, analyzing and evaluation processes proved to be wrong after those decisions failed to succeed. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the managers to ensure that all the business operations are conducted in an effective and efficient manner by being able to make right, effective and efficient decisions to be used in the business operations.



Coles Supermarket is one of the largest supermarkets in Australia. However, the supermarket has recently been providing high priced groceries despite the notion that the grocery supermarkets provide cheap, affordable and high quality products (Attila, 2014). The supermarket faces some very serious challenges especially caused by its management system. Coles’ management team has actually failed to make the right, effective and efficient decisions over the last number of years which has led to the emergence of problems like problems on private product brand and problems with the checkout systems installed to be used by customers (Becker, 2011). From the research, it is clear that the business’s private brand is technically not the customers’ best or first choice because of its low quality and high price. Due to this, the customers have increased their preference to Aldi’s private brand which is of better quality and low priced (Cousins and Fels, 2009). Also, Coles’ self-service checkout system has caused different problems like customer time wastage, long waiting hours for customer to be served, customers are not happy and increase in theft cases. I can say that this is all the management’s fault because they are the people who approved the introduction of the new private brand as well as the usage of the self-service checkout technology. However, all of these decisions were not effective as they should hence leading to failure and business problems.

Alternatives And Recommendations

One of the alternative for Coles Supermarkets is to change the management team completely. The business owners and the stakeholders should consider replacing the management team completely or partially (Stiegert and Kim, 2009). This will provide a vacancy for a better managers who are ready to make tough but good decisions.

Also, the supermarket should try and improve the quality of its product brand for it to be worthy of the price set. However, the best alternative is to lower the prices of the product for as long as possible and as it improves the quality and when the brand acquires loyal customers, it can increase the prices a little (Dixon, 2007).

Also, the managers should get rid of the checkout system installed and instead use human labor to serve the customers.



Every business requires a good, experienced and skilled management team. The managers of a business are the hearts of the business, therefore, when they fail in their management responsibilities or their decision making roles, then the business fails as well. In that case, Coles Supermarket should hinder to the recommendations listed in this report so that it can be able to solve its management problems and improve its performance. Through this, it will be in a position to beat its main rival, Aldi and lead the market,



Attila, S., 2014. Testing brand value measurement methods in a random coefficient modeling framework. THE ANNALS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ORADEA, p.1067.

Becker, J., 2011. Evaluating a complex and uncertain future. World Futures, economics, pp.30-46.

Bryman, A. and Bell, E., 2015. Business research methods. Oxford University Press, USA.

Cleary, R.L. and Lopez, R.A., 2007. Is Wal-Mart Good for Competition? Evidence from Milk Prices (No. 101). University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.

Cousins, D. and Fels, A., 2009. The Re-emergence of Prices Surveillance. UNSWLJ, 32, p.287.

Dixon, J., 2007. Supermarkets as new food authorities. In Supermarkets and agri-food supply chains: Transformations in the production and consumption of foods. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Dwivedi, A., Merrilees, B., Miller, D. and Herington, C., 2010. Building Customer-Equity in Supermarket Retailing.

Faulkner, G.P., Livingstone, M.B.E., McCaffrey, T.A. and Kerr, M.A., 2014. Supermarket own brand foods: lower in energy cost but similar in nutritional quality to their market brand alternatives. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics, 27(6), pp.617-625.

Griffith, R., 2010. Rethinking change. Tackling wicked problems through the transdisciplinary imagination, pp.251-259.

Hol, A., Mubin, O. and Ginige, A., 2014, August. Proposed business model for SME farmers in peri-urban Sydney region. In e-Business (ICE-B), 2014 11th International Conference on (pp. 137-144). IEEE.

Keith, S., 2012. Coles, Woolworths and the local. Locale: The Australasian-Pacific Journal of Regional Food Studies, 2, pp.47-81.

Lyons, K., 2007. Supermarkets as organic retailers: Impacts for the Australian organic sector. Supermarkets and Agri-Food Supply Chains: Transformations in the Production and Consumption of Foods, pp.154-172.

Price, R.A., 2009. Down the aisle: the effects of technological change on retail workers skills.

Rungie, C. and Laurent, G., 2012. Brand loyalty vs. loyalty to product attributes. Quantitative Marketing and Marketing Management, 2012, pp.423-444.

Stiegert, K.W. and Kim, D.H., 2009. Structural Changes in Food Retailing.

Taylor, E., 2016. Supermarket self-checkouts and retail theft: The curious case of the SWIPERS. Criminology & Criminal Justice, accounting, pp.552-567.

Hamzaoui-Essoussi, L. and Zahaf, M., 2011. The organic food market: Opportunities and challenges. ORGANIC FOOD AND AGRICULTURE–NEW TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES, p.63.

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