Australian supermarket giant, Coles, has announced the return of their Little Shop promotion, but with a Christmas spin. This comes after an internal memo regarding the impending launch was leaked to social media, prompting excitement within collectors groups. The promotion, which launches on Dec. 7, offers customers one mini collectable for every $30 spent in store, with many popular grocery items featured. The Christmas promotion will offer customers the chance to collect five themed toys, including a gingerbread biscuit and mince pies.
Previous Little Shop promotions have been lucrative for the company, with 5.1 percent comparable sales growth reported in the first quarter of the 2018-2019 financial year, after the launch of thirty mini collectables. The promotion proved popular with families with children and novelty collectors, with social media groups springing up to facilitate swapping.
Just when you thought your Coles Little Shop collection was complete…
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) November 26, 2018
Plastic waste: Coles sends mixed messages
Critics of the promotion, including environmentalists, health advocates and concerned members of the public have spoken out against subsequent launches. They claim that Coles is sending out inconsistent messages regarding their commitment to reducing plastic waste.
Single-use plastic bags were banned at the start of July in Queensland. Coles has committed to utilising a greater proportion of recycled material in fruit and vegetable bags, and to reductions in the use of the plastic packaging of food items. The supermarket provides RedCycle bins in store which enables customers to return soft plastic packaging at their next shop, for recycling into items such as benches.
However, according to Jeff Angel, the executive director of the Boomerang Alliance, these efforts are undermined by the Little Shop promotion. Many of the toys are disposed of fairly quickly as the fad fades. Critics also say wrapping each toy individually in soft plastic is irresponsible. Even though the packaging can be recycled in the RedCycle bins, many families will not do so.