Mike Stevens | Oct 16, 2009

FOLLOWING CONCERNS raised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Coles has cancelled a new 40 cent discount petrol offer it had planned to launch today.

Similar to campaigns run by Coles and Woolworths/Safeway in July, the discounts on offer would have varied from 10 cents for a $100 spend at Coles supermarkets, up to 40 cents for a $300 spend.

Running from October 16 until October 29, the new campaign would have eclipsed the three-day special offer run in July.

The ACCC said today that the longer offer stood too great a risk of impacting heavily on competition in the long term.

"The ACCC has long acknowledged the consumer benefits arising from fuel shopper docket arrangments. As far back as 2004, the ACCC publicly noted their capacity to deliver cheaper petrol and encourage competition," the ACCC's statement reads.

However there is a balance to be found between providing consumers with discounts on the one hand, and on the other offering significant price cuts for sustained periods or repeated offers which might have deeper impact on competition in the long term.

The ACCC is not satisfied on information currently available that this promotion struck the right balance."

The July offer was available for a limited time, however many said that the practice of heavy fuel discounting would squeeze independent fuel stations and supermarkets out of business as shoppers flocked to the big chains to take advantage of the offers.

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