is an Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
n big box
A big-box store is a physically large retail establishment, usually part of a chain. The term sometimes also refers, by extension, to the company that operates the store...
liquor supermarket chain owned by Woolworths Limited
Woolworths Limited is a major Australian company with extensive retail interest throughout Australia and New Zealand. It is the:* largest retail company in Australia and New Zealand by market capitalisation and sales...
, who also owns BWS
BWS may mean:* BWS , an Australian liquor retailer, owned by Woolworths Limited* BWS Financial, an independent stock research firm* Barry Windsor-Smith, a British cartoonist, comics-author, and painter...
, another liquor chain with smaller stores.
The company has beginnings in 1878 after Daniel Francis Murphy, a winemaker, journalist, and founder of the first wine club in Australia, began wine retailing in Victoria
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....
. Woolworths Limited took over the five Victorian retail outlets in 1998 with the intention of national expansion. While a success for Woolworths, the business has contributed to the formation of an oligopoly
An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers . The word is derived, by analogy with "monopoly", from the Greek ὀλίγοι "few" + πόλειν "to sell". Because there are few sellers, each oligopolist is likely to be aware of the actions of the others...
in the Australian liquor market, with concerns about the ability of smaller liquor retailers to compete.
The business offers a "lowest liquor price guarantee", and a main slogan of the company is that "You would be mad to buy liquor elsewhere".
Dan Murphy's pricing strategy sparked an anti-competition problem in 2003, with industry analysts claiming that Woolworths and
Coles were seeking to bankrupt rival liquor retailers, mostly by lowering prices of wine. The business has admitted to selling liquor at times below cost to "aggressively drive sales".
Another major concern amongst rival liquor retailers has been Woolworths' aggressive acquisition strategy, buying-up small independent stores to increase market share against main rival Coles Group, or opening up new stores, placing pressure on existing retailers by taking away sales. In Woolworths' 2006 Annual Report, the company reported 15 new Dan Murphy's stores had opened in the reported financial year, taking the total to 56, and that the company had the sites and licences to have more than 100 stores open within the next two to three years.