15 September 2020

A COVID-19 Update

Dear Customers,

Even in this time of COVID, the onset of spring always feels like an energising time of the year and I wanted to provide you with an update on what’s happening at Woolworths.

Before I do, it would be remiss of me to not give Victoria a special mention. With over 42,000 Victorian team members, over 5 million customers and over 650 sites, we appreciate the extra challenges that Victorians have been facing. Please rest assured we are working collaboratively with the Victorian Government to deliver the most COVIDSafe shopping experience possible in Victoria.

What’s trending this spring?

Gardening and floral categories are growing almost 40% more at Woolworths and almost 20% more at BIG W than last year and the change in season has us outdoors. Lavender and Azaleas are proving popular and so are garden ornaments (Stranger fact: we’ve already sold more than 60,000 Meerkat statues so far this spring!). Indoors, sales of succulents have tripled and leafy foliage has doubled as we bring fresh growth into our homes.

On the drinks front, it’s looking like being a seltzer summer, with searches on the Dan Murphy’s website up 57% in the last two weeks, and we’ve more than doubled our range at both BWS and Dan Murphy’s in time for spring and summer. With gin our fastest-growing category, the great news for local distillers is that our sales of Australian-made craft gin have more than doubled in the last 12 months.

Australian wine lovers are experimenting more than ever and seem to be bringing “a little bit of Europe” to their dining table this year, with easy-to-drink and low oak varieties like Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola and Grenache all growing in popularity. And if you’re a wine and animal lover, try Sit Stay Society Wines with 50 cents from every bottle donated to PetRescue.

Disney your way...

Also incredibly popular right now are the Disney+ Ooshies at Woolworths. I’m happy to say that they will finally launch in Victoria this Wednesday and thank you to our Victorian customers for your patience with the delay. We have kept plenty aside so Victoria won’t miss out.

Our very first ultra-rare Furry Thor Ooshie was found last week by a lucky customer in one of our more remote stores in Broome, with more found across the country since. And the first ultra-rare The Child (also known as Baby Yoda) was found in Sydney last weekend. I am under strict instructions from my adult daughters to keep an eye out for the next one.

And they’re not just for families, they’re popular with couples and singles too – perhaps it’s the nostalgia and popularity of Star Wars and the Marvel Universe that’s proving there is a secret collector in all of us.

For those who may have spare Disney+ Ooshies they no longer require to complete their collection, don’t forget you can recycle them at our stores via the dedicated terracycle bins.

Being COVIDSafe this Festive Season

We’ve learned a lot during COVID and have now documented our health and safety practices for our stores, distribution centres, online hubs and support offices into one handbook. It’s freely available to download from our COVID website, so if you’re a small business looking for ways to make your workplace COVIDSafe, or you’re simply interested in what happens behind the scenes at Woolworths, please feel free to download a copy.

Can you believe Christmas less than 15 weeks away? At Woolies, preparations are well underway to make sure we keep COVIDSafe this Christmas season. These include:

  • Automated customer counting to help us control the number of people in store when Christmas shopping hits its peak

  • Continued investment in proactive cleaning throughout out stores as we head into the Christmas period

  • Continuing to place COVID ambassadors in store to support customers and team located in Community Transmission areas

A reminder that we have contactless Delivery and Pick up options and we’re busy ramping up our Direct to boot pick-up service in more stores nationwide – a great option approaching Christmas as you don’t need to leave your car. Find your nearest store.

Caring is sharing

A huge thank you to everyone who added a little bit to their bill in support of this year’s Feed Appeal. Together we’ve helped the appeal raise $1.5million which will go to grassroots food relief organisations across the country for ovens, freezers, cool rooms, transport and vital infrastructure to help them provide meals to the most vulnerable in the community. More important this year than ever.

We wish everyone a COVIDSafe spring, but as spring signals new beginnings, we also wish you all the optimism that comes with the new season.

Be safe

Brad Banducci

CEO Woolworths group

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