A message from Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci to customers
Over the last two weeks, there's been much commentary in the media and we have had direct feedback from our customers and our team regarding our approach to selling Australia Day merchandise.
I have tried to read all customer complaints and team incident reports, and I’m writing this in the hope of clarifying our position and also asking everyone to treat our team with respect.
In terms of the Woolworths position:
As a proud Australian and New Zealand retailer, we aren’t trying to ‘cancel’ Australia Day. Rather, Woolworths is deeply proud of our place in providing the fresh food that brings Australians together every day. As evidenced during COVID or increasingly natural disasters such as what is currently unfolding with Cyclone Kirrily in Northern Queensland. Woolworths will always support Australians in the moments that matter.
In terms of merchandising - our commercial decision to not stock specific Australian Day general merchandise was made on the basis of steeply declining sales. The decision to stock this mostly imported merchandise has to be made almost 12 months in advance. So as a business decision, it doesn’t make commercial sense.
Rather than stocking imported Australian themed merchandise, Woolworths is focused on what we do best 365 days of the year – providing the best of Australian fresh food for Australia Day long weekend gatherings with family and friends and working hard to ensure we deliver great value.
There are many other ways in which we are supporting our customers and our team to celebrate Australia, such as acknowledging the best of Australian products in our stores and online and supporting our team to mark Australia Day with their local community.
As a first generation Australian who gratefully calls Australia home, I look forward to getting together with my family and I hope that you too spend Australia Day in your own way and cherish what it means to be Australian.