Woolworths, also know colloquially as “Woolies”, is a supermarket and grocery chain that is owned by Woolworths Group. It was founded in 1924, and alongside Coles makes up the duopoly of Australian supermarket stores. Both Woolworths and Coles shares 80% of the market share in Australia.
Woolworths sells a wide range of products, not just grocery items. In fact, it is a popular place to find pharmaceuticals, homewares, baby and pet supplies, as well as stationary. There are nearly 1000 Woolworths supermarket stores in Australia.
The company was founded in 1924 by a group of 5 Australians. They opened the first store in 1924 in Sydney. The company increased as shareholder numbers grew, and dividends got higher.
It became popular with consumers very quickly, and more branches of Woolworths stores were opened around the country. They sold a wide variety of products and had money-back guarantees. They were the first variety store in the whole world to install receipt printing cash register machines.
In modern times, Woolworths is known for pioneering with self-service checkouts and doing away with single-use plastic bags. A large amount of single-use plastic bags avoid going to landfill because of the decision of Woolworths. This move was welcomed by environmental activists, even though many people were upset with the sudden inconvenience (they got over it).
Woolworths has become an iconic Australian brand and is a staple in everyday life for many. Since it takes up such a huge section of the market along with Coles, some have speculated that it is unfair on independent grocery stores as they cannot compete.
Of course, many people simply know the chain as ‘Woolies’ and go there every day to buy their groceries. Lots of people go to Woolworths and prefer to use the self-serve checkouts that exist there.