The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted Homemakers Furniture and Sleepzone Bedding retailers to collectively bargain with a range of suppliers.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the collective bargaining arrangements can provide an opportunity for members of the bargaining group to have greater input into the terms and conditions of their supply contracts.

"This can help the parties identify and achieve greater efficiencies and reduce transaction costs."

Homemakers is a buying, advertising and marketing group with 55 members across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Homemakers considers that allowing its members to collectively bargain with
suppliers will help them compete with larger and better resourced retailers.

"Given competition at the retail level, any savings generated from the proposed arrangements may be passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices," Sims said.

"The arrangements may also result in operational efficiencies for suppliers and manufacturers."

Participation in the collective bargaining arrangements will be voluntary for both retailers and suppliers. In addition, the absence of any proposed collective boycott activity means that a collective agreement will only be reached where it is in the interest of both parties to the negotiation.