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twitterTWITTER is the new tool being used to fight against high supermarket prices across Australia.

Following the failure of the Federal Government’s Grocery Choice website – set up to help shoppers find the lowest grocery prices in supermarkets around the country – a group of IT experts are using Twitter and Google Groups to develop Price Check, a website they hope will save shoppers money.

Using crowd-sourcing technology, shoppers will eventually be able to log onto the web or via a mobile phone application to find the best-priced supermarket items in their area.

The website will allow shoppers to enter their entire shopping list on the website to find the best prices.                                                                                                     

Users will also be asked to update price items.

“I think I am heavily in favour of an open system and I believe there should be access to the public,’’ idea developer Rob Mason told news.com.au.

“(Users) will be able to enter their postcode … and source products on the site linked to the data base and compare prices and find which supermarket is best-priced.”

Mr Mason said the more the public demand access to cheaper prices, the more likely supermarket giants such as Coles and Woolworths will comply.

He said the response from Twitter users has been “fantastic”.

“If we get people involved and active, we can get all the prices in all the supermarkets,” he said.

“The feedback has been really good; we have gathered as much followers as the big supermarkets.”

Mr Mason said the major supermarkets have a responsibility to be open about their prices.

He admitted if successful, the Price Check idea would be unpopular with the supermarket chains.

“There is absolutely no commercial gain for them to be had by being open and transparent,” he said.

“At the moment it is more of a social thing, supporting an open system rather than saving heaps of money … but there is a potential.”

Follow @price_check for notification of the website launch.

Source www.news.com.au

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wa small firmsSigns are emerging that the worst of the global financial crisis is over, according to a new survey, and the State’s small businesses are leading the way.
  
The Commonwealth Bank-Chamber of Commerce and Industry quarterly survey of business expectations, released yesterday, shows that economic conditions in WA appear to be stabilising after six months of decline.
  
CCI chief economist John Nicolaou said that the community could “take heart” from the results and that an economic recovery within the next 12 months was on the horizon.
  
“This survey is an important lead indicator of future economic activity,” he said.
  
“While just over half of all businesses remain pessimistic about the next 12 months, that’s come back from around 75 per cent of businesses that were pessimistic last quarter, and at the same time businesses that think conditions will improve (over the same time) has doubled.”
  
Mr Nicolaou said small businesses in service industries were the most optimistic, with 17 per cent of the firms surveyed believing conditions would improve over the next 12 months.
  
Beaumonde Catering owner Mark Dimmitt said he felt small business was better prepared for the slowdown than in other downturns because it had taken time to flow to Australia from the US.
  
He said that though his trade had been affected and was patchy, February was a record month for his 20-year-old business and he expected an upturn over the next year.
  
Woolworths regional manager Brad Bolin criticised “illogical barriers to doing business”, referring to trading hours in WA.
  
Mr Bolin said “conservative estimates” showed the group would need to employ another 300 staff in WA if trading hours were extended to 9pm.
  
“During this time of economic uncertainty there are still companies (looking) to hire more people — these efforts shouldn’t be undone by illogical barriers to doing business,” he said.
  
Coles and Kmart have said they expected to employ another 350 workers if 9pm trading was approved.

Source www.thewest.com.au

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Colin Barnett is on the brink of caving in to worried Liberal backbenchers and accepting an 8pm closing for weeknight shopping rather than the 9pm time he took to the election last year.
  
The Premier has been softening the public up for an 8pm closing time in recent days and again said yesterday that it was an acceptable alternative. 
  
The West Australian understands that most Liberals don’t want 9pm and would prefer a 7pm closing time but are prepared to accept 8pm to save the Premier the embarrassment of being rolled by his own party.
  
Mr Barnett has been canvassing his MPs one-on-one in recent days and knows that 9pm is beyond his reach.

The Nationals say they will not support changes to shopping hours, which they fear would deliver a crucial blow to WA producers because it would increase the market share of big supermarkets
   
The Government will rely on Labor to get legislation on later weeknight shopping hours through Parliament but the ALP took a position of 7pm to the election and is not guaranteed to support a later closing time. A Labor spokeswoman said yesterday that shadow Cabinet and caucus would discuss the party’s position once the Government’s preference was known.
 
Cabinet discussed the shopping hours issue last Monday and Mr Barnett is expected to take his preferred position to the party room on Tuesday, but the Upper House is not sitting, and the meeting will be only for Assembly MPs, meaning that a vote on the issue will probably be delayed a week.
  
Mr Barnett said yesterday that most people in the retail industry, including the unions, favoured a 9pm closing time from Monday to Friday to bring all weeknights into line with existing late-night shopping.
  
“That’s a position I think is logical, however a number of people are saying 8pm might be better. I don’t think there’s a big difference between the two,” he said.
  
“To simply extend it to 7pm would be pointless.
  
“So, 8pm, yeah that’s OK, 9pm might be better but at least either of those would be a significant extension to weeknight shopping.”

But backbenchers are under pressure from small businesses to wind back the closing time, believing that the later hour is supported only by Coles and Woolworths.
  
Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief James Pearson urged politicians from both sides to “stand up to vested interest groups, which are determined to deny West Australians more choice and lower prices when they shop”.  

ROBERT TAYLOR, PETER KERR and AMANDA BANKS

Source www.thewest.com.au

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066What is Kids in Perth – The Parents’ Paper?                                          

Targeted at parents with children aged up to 14 years, Kids in Perth – The Parents’ Paper is a FREE monthly newspaper that can be found all over the metro area and in some regional centres. The largest, longest running and most popular parenting publication in Western Australia is distributed at the beginning of every month. Kids in Perth – The Parents’ Paper has been published since 1995.

Where can I find a copy of Kids in Perth – The Parents’ Paper?
We are available at over 600 outlets in the metropolitan area – north to Yanchep, east to Mundaring Weir and south to Mandurah and through selected regional outlets.

What will I find in Kids in Perth – The Parents’ Paper?
Each month you will find news for and about families in Perth including:

 Education and Literacy
 Health and Nutrition
 Competitions
 Entertainment and Events Diary
 Sport and Recreation
 Birthday Party Page
 Just for Mums
 Performing Arts
 The Nursery
 School Holidays Features

How many people can you reach?

The print run is 75,000 copies per month, with a CAB audited circulation of 71,251
Web exposure at www.kidsinperth.com 
Readership is estimated to be around 130,000 and is broken down into:
90% mothers
10% fathers and grandparents

How do we keep Kids in Perth – The Parents’ Paper in households for a month?

The Events Diary, which is in the centre feature of every issue, provides a list of things happening in Perth that are of interest to families. This spans the first to the last day of the month and ensures the longevity of the paper.
Find us in:
 Supermarkets (Woolworths, Coles, IGA)
 Bounty Bags given to new mums
 All metro MacDonalds Family Restaurants
 All Guardian Pharmacies (including regional)
 Shopping Centres (at the information desk or in stands)
 Public Libraries
 Selected childcare centres, pre-primary and primary schools
 Places of family interest (Scitech, WA Museum, Adventure World and Kings Park)

For more information please contact the Sales Office on (08) 9388 1600

 

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online_shoppingSupermarket internet shopping has arrived in Perth, with Coles launching the service a few weeks ago and Woolworths expected to follow its rival’s lead within months.

General manager of online shopping for Coles, Keith Louie, said the use of the service had exceeded the company’s expectations and had created 150 jobs in Perth.

Thousands of orders have been taken in the few weeks the service has been operating.

Rival retailer Woolworths says it plans to go online in Perth by the end of the calendar year.

Spokesperson for Woolworths Claire Buchanan said online supermarket shopping was still very much a niche market.

“We tend to see a lot of people buying their bulky goods online and then shopping for fresh produce themselves. This is even though we tell them that our staff hand pick the goods as if they were buying for their own families,” Ms Buchanan said.

She said the value of online shopping to Woolworths equated to an additional supermarket in each of the cities in which it had been established.

“The market is still very small,” Ms Buchanan said.

“But once people try it they tend to come back. Some people will do a monthly shop online and then top up by visiting their local supermarket each week to get fresh food.

“We have online shopping in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne and by the end of this year will have it in Brisbane and Perth.”

Mr Louie said people were opting to shop online because they wanted more control over their spending.

He said shoppers in Perth could now choose from over 20,000 supermarket products online.

PERTH
JANE HAMMOND http://www.thewest.com.au

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KEVIN Rudd’s new website for supermarket bargains has uncovered a suprising winner for the nation’s cheapest shopping trolley: it’s Queensland’s Sunshine coast, including Noosa, the preferred playground for millionaire babyboomers in search of a seachange.

The Prime Minister’s much criticised website to track grocery prices made its debut this morning, revealing something many families living in the regional areas already know – buying groceries in Broome, Darwin, Alice Springs and even Hobart is more expensive than the big cities.

But suprisingly shoppers in Noosa, the holiday playground lampooned by Kath and Kim’s Prue and Trude, enjoys the cheapest shopping basket in the nation, The Australian reports.

Supermarket giant Coles has emerged as the cheapest option for a majority of regions in Australia, according to GROCERYchoice, but ALDI is up to $20 cheaper again for an basket of basic staples in the regions it operates.

The cheapest basic basket of staples in Australia is to be found on Queensland’s sunshine coast including Noosa, Maroochydore and Caloundra and Brisbane’s north, including Redcliffe and Northgate.

A combined basket of meat, fruit, dairy, general groceries and other items costs $150.58 on average at Coles in those areas. By comparison, the same combined Coles basket costs $164.76 in Broome. But the same shopping trolley costs up to $193.48 in Alice Springs if you shop independent.

The site – http://www.grocerychoice.gov.au/ – will provide monthly comparisons of a basket of selected groceries from supermarkets in 61 regions across the country.

Read the full report in The Australian 

extract from www.news.com.au

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