Coles' Little Shop returns, but Woolies hits back with Lion King

The items in Coles' 2019 Little Shop giveaway.
The items in Coles' 2019 Little Shop giveaway.  Photo: Supplied

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the supermarket, Australia's two grocery giants will go head-to-head with major toy giveaways next week, each hoping that pestering children will drive shoppers through their doors.

Coles said on Friday it would bring back its phenomenally popular "Little Shop" promotion after being "inundated with requests" from shoppers for more of the tiny plastic grocery replicas.

When Coles first ran the campaign a year ago, it was responsible for a dramatic reversal in its fortunes as children badgered their parents into shopping there to collect the toys.

Woolworths' Lion King toys giveaway.
Woolworths' Lion King toys giveaway.  Photo: Supplied

Sales that quarter grew faster at Coles than at Woolworths for the first time in two years, but Woolworths took the lead again as soon as the Little Shop sugar hit ended.

Woolworths is hoping not to be left behind this time, and on Friday announced its own Lion King figurine giveaway, which coincides with a release of the Disney film remake.

Both promotions start next Wednesday, with every $30 spent earning shoppers a toy.

Coles' first Little Shop promotion was wildly successful.
Coles' first Little Shop promotion was wildly successful.  Photo: Fairfax Media

Coles said customers would be "very excited" about the items in the new collection, which include replicas of Dynamo washing liquid, Bref Power Active Juicy Lemon Toilet Cleaner, and Kleenex toilet paper.

The brands involved pay to have their products involved in Little Shop. Last year the makers of White King Power Clean Toilet Gel said the promotion drove a 50 per cent spike in sales.

Last years' Little Shop promotion sparked a secondary market for the toys online, with a complete set going for about $70.

Woolworths appeared conscious of the environmental-minded criticism Coles received during its last toy giveaway, which came after both supermarkets removed single-use plastic bags from stores.

It said it would run a recycling program where unwanted Lion King toys could be returned to stores and turned into products such as park benches.

"We've sought to create a fun and exciting shopping experience for Australian families, while also being mindful of our environmental responsibilities," said Woolworths programs manager Sarah De La Mare.