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Price war: Woolworths vs Spar vs Pick n Pay vs Checkers prices compared

| Economic factors

Independent consumer website Retail Price Watch conducted a survey of prices across South Africa’s seven biggest chains, looking at prices in four different categories.

The chains were Cambridge Foods, Checkers, Makro, Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar and Woolworths, looking at the prices for baking ingredients, beverages, cereals and porridge, and staples.

According to Retail Price Watch’s findings, Pick n Pay was the least-cost winner in the baking ingredients category, with Woolworths a close second. Most expensive was Spar.

In the beverages category, Cambridge Foods was the winner with Shoprite, Woolworths and Pick n Pay all neck and neck for second place (less than R1 difference). Most expensive was Makro.

In the cereals and porridge category, Makro was the cheapest, with Pick n Pay coming second. Woolworths was the most expensive.

In the staples category, Cambridge Foods was the winner with Makro coming second. Woolworths was most expensive.

Baking ingredients

Baking Ingredients

Cambridge

Checkers

Makro

PnP

Shoprite

Spar

Woolworths

Nestle Caramel Treat Can 360g

R25.99

R24.17

R20.99

R23.69

R26.29

R28.97

R21.62

Nestle Condensed Milk Can 385g

R21.65

R22.41

R18.95

R19.96

R22.21

R22.99

R20.28

Danone Ultramel Custard 1l

R28.39

R27.30

R25.63

R24.55

R27.18

R27.98

R25.95

Snowflake Cake Flour 2.5kg

R25.59

R25.87

R27.48

R23.81

R27.32

R29.95

R26.95

Maizena Cornflour 500g

R17.89

R21.88

R20.33

R19.94

R20.18

R21.79

R17.95

Total

R119.51

R121.63

R113.38

R111.95

R123.18

R131.68

R112.75

Beverages

Beverages

Cambridge

Checkers

Makro

PnP

Shoprite

Spar

Woolworths

Nescafe Classic Jar 200g

R74.99

R76.30

R67.97

R74.21

R77.56

R77.49

R71.62

Five Roses Tagless Black Tea 102 units

R29.07

R30.21

R35.45

R30.63

R30.54

R34.57

R30.61

Joko Tagless Black Tea 100 units

R26.26

R31.29

R39.95

R33.26

R31.99

R37.99

R31.95

Cremora 1kg

R36.32

R40.71

R40.95

R38.89

R38.09

R37.09

R40.95

Freshpak Rooibos Tea 80 Units

R25.99

R34.18

R36.95

R33.96

R32.42

R32.56

R34.95

Total

R192.63

R212.69

R221.27

R210.95

R210.60

R219.70

R210.08

Cereals and Porridge

Cereals and Porridge

Cambridge

Checkers

Makro

PnP

Shoprite

Spar

Woolworths

Bokomo Weetbix 900g

R44.49

R48.18

R44.95

R42.93

R47.54

R47.59

R44.95

Bokomo Weetbix 900g

R47.49

R48.08

R44.45

R49.47

R51.10

R49.29

R51.95

Jungle Oats 1kg

R22.65

R27.09

R24.63

R25.12

R26.84

R27.74

R27.28

Jungle OatsoEasy 10 units

R39.99

R38.88

R37.45

R37.40

R37.99

R39.59

R42.95

Kelloggs Corn Flakes Value Pack2

R39.99

R41.77

R32.48

R35.80

R41.97

R42.89

R42.95

Total

R194.61

R204.00

R183.96

R190.72

R205.44

R207.10

R210.08

Staples

Staples

Cambridge

Checkers

Makro

PnP

Shoprite

Spar

Woolworths

Selati White Sugar 2.5kg

R32.29

R33.69

R33.00

R34.32

R34.86

R32.77

R35.45

Iwisa Super Maize Meal 2.5kg

R23.59

R26.65

R23.95

R25.73

R27.24

R26.74

R27.95

Lucky Star Pilchards in Tomato Sauce 400g

R15.19

R17.38

R15.95

R17.17

R16.13

R17.88

R17.95

Spekko Parboiled Rice 2kg

R22.31

R24.56

R24.28

R25.40

R25.24

R25.65

R26.95

Rama 500g Brick

R23.79

R23.88

R23.28

R24.87

R20.71

R26.32

R24.99

Total

R117.17

R126.16

R120.46

R127.49

R124.18

R129.36

R133.29

“No store can claim to be the cheapest across all categories. Consumers should not believe that lots of ‘Specials’ mean the store has the best prices for everything,” said Viccy Baker of Retail Price Watch.

“When adding together all 20 items in the different categories, Cambridge Foods is the overall winner, with Spar the most expensive. However, there is less than 11% difference between the cost of the identical basket in Cambridge Foods and Spar.”

“There is only R3 difference between the prices of the same goods in Shoprite, Checkers and Woolworths, for example,” Baker said.

Totals

#

Shop

Total

1

Cambridge

R623.92

2

Makro

R639.07

3

Pick n Pay

R641.11

4

Shoprite

R663.40

5

Checkers

R664.48

6

Woolworths

R666.20

7

Spar

R687.84

According to Baker, stores keep an eye on each other’s prices and alter them on a weekly or even daily basis.

“Unfortunately today it is all about the stores manipulating their statistics on consumer behaviour to extract the last cent rather than simply ensuring that shoppers consistently get the best value for money,” she said.

Baker said that her research sees prices moving up and downwards by as much as 50% in a single week.

The items surveyed are national brands which were selected solely on the basis that they are available from all seven chains. The average price of each item in June and July from stores around the country was used in order to ensure that a single “special” did not unduly weight the overall price of the item.

 

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