Print merger for News, Fairfax. Watch for a possible merger of News and Fairfax print site in Sydney in the next two to three years. It will operate from News Limited’s Chullora site. Friends have said they spotted top-level Fairfax bosses as well as Fairfax print site managers walking around the Chullora site measuring the room available. It was extended recently to accommodate an extra two presses. The same will happen in Melbourne — rumour has it that they have agreed on a block of land to build a greenfield site in the Somerton/Campbellfield area with a completion date of three years.

Stacking the shelves: more home (brand) truths. I used to work for one of Australia’s largest dairy producers and can guarantee they use the same basic ingredients in home brand dairy products as they do with branded. Generally it’s not cost effective or practical to be changing recipes when producing large volumes of essentially the same product. You need to understand that Coles\Woolies are not manufacturers or processors and generally they put their home brand work out to tender with some basic specifications, but apart from this their involvement in the production of their brands is minimal.

The other point that has not been made clear in your articles is it’s not just savings on packaging that make home brands cheaper but the lack of associated expensive advertising and marketing campaigns. While the retailers spend a lot on advertising, you have to remember a branded product must cover the cost of its own advertising and marketing and the Coles\Woolies advertising (indirectly) so therefore you would expect branded products to be dearer. In my experience the payments made to farmers for their milk was not differentiated between what products the milk was used for and in fact this would have been impractical to do. What effects the overall farm gate price is what the processors can achieve in total for all their products whether they be home brands or their own brands.

They dress better, the Libs. Clear evidence the Liberals are back in town: a friend strolled through the lobby of GMT yesterday morning and reported a dramatic increase in “flash suits, handkerchiefs in pockets and pearls!”