Woolworths wholesale food agreement gives customers more choice

Woolworths Group has entered into a wholesale food supply agreement, which will offer customers a greater product range and competitive pricing.

The company announced this on November 9, along with an agreement to sell its 540 Woolworths-owned fuel convenience sites to EG Group for $1.725 billion.

The EG Group is a global competitor in fuel and convenience retailing, operating about 4,700 sites across Europe and North America and employing more than 28,000 people.

As part of the transaction, Woolworths Group and EG Group have entered into a 15-year commercial alliance covering fuel discount redemption, loyalty and wholesale product supply.

READ: Woolworths Group releases results for a challenging yet strong quarter

Key features of the alliance include a greater product range in the food sector, the continuation of Woolworths’ four cent per litre fuel discount and the continuation of Woolworths Rewards points on fuel and merchandise.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the transaction is a positive for the company’s customers, its team and its shareholders.

“The agreement will continue to strengthen the opportunities our customers have for greater value when shopping with us, with the benefits of the Woolworths Rewards program and the fuel discount offer set to continue.

“A long-term wholesale food supply arrangement will also ensure that EG Group can benefit from competitive product sourcing, including Woolworths’ own brands, to provide a world class convenience offer that will add further scale to Woolworths FoodCo,” said Banducci.

All existing Woolworths Petrol management and operations teams will transfer to EG Group following completion of the sale.

EG Group founder and co-CEO Mohsin Issa said for the past 17 years, the company had a vision of becoming a leading petrol station and convenience store operator around the world.

“The Woolworths’ assets present a fantastic opportunity to further grow our international footprint and deliver our best-in-class retail experience in a new geography.

“We are committed to investing in the site network, introducing leading retail brands, developing the alliance with Woolworths and working with the exceptional management team,” said Issa.

The transaction is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval. Completion is expected to occur in early 2019.

Woolworths Group releases results for a challenging yet strong quarter

Customer and brand metrics remain strong for the Woolworths Group, despite a challenging quarter.

The group released its first quarter sales results for the 2019 financial year.

The results showed Australian Food sales growth of 1.9 per cent – comparable sales were +1.8 per cent due to impact of removal of single-use plastic bags and a competitor continuity program.

However, there was improved momentum in September and into October.

READ: Woolworths Group and Nestle rank in top 15 for Reuters most diverse and inclusive organisations globally

The group saw an online growth of 28 per cent and Woolworths Online was awarded the Canstar Blue 2018 award for most satisfied customers.

Endeavour Drinks sales saw a growth of 3 per cent – with a comparable growth of 1.7 per cent in a low growth market.

Sales growth in New Zealand Food was 2.6 per cent with a comparable growth of 4.0 per cent.

The report also shows progress on environment and community aspects, with more than 600 million fewer single-use plastic bags, more than $7.5 million raised for drought relief, 280 payments to drought-affected dairy farmers and 500 Junior Landcare Grants.

Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci said while it was a more challenging quarter for sales, customer and brand metrics were strong across the Group, especially in Australian Food.

“In Australian Food, comparable sales momentum improved materially in September compared to August leading to growth of 1.8 per cent for the quarter with market share by the end of the quarter broadly returning to Q4’18 levels.

“In WooliesX, online sales increased 26 per cent with pick up remaining a key driver. Woolworths Rewards members increased to 11.1 million. Online sales across the Group increased by 28 per cent with New Zealand Food and BIG W particularly strong,” said Banducci.

“Comparable sales growth for Endeavour Drinks and ALH Hotels was lower than recent trend due to a low growth drinks market and ALH Hotels cycling strong events in the prior year while BIG W’s and New Zealand Food’s comparable sales growth are both a result of ongoing investment.

“All businesses are now focused on delivering an exceptional Christmas experience for our customers,” said Banducci.



Woolworths Group and Nestle rank in top 15 for Reuters most diverse and inclusive organisations globally

Woolworths Group and Nestle, have taken out 14th and 15th, respectively, in Thomson Reuters D&I index ranks 2018 Top 100 list.

Management consulting firm Accenture has the top spot on the Thomson Reuters most diverse and inclusive organisations list, with the two food companies following close by.

The index ratings are informed by Thomson Reuters environmental, social, and governance data, designed to transparently and objectively measure the relative performance of more than 7,000 companies and provide clients with differentiated insight.

Each company is assigned a score across diversity, inclusion, people development and news controversy pillars.

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Only companies with scores across all four pillars are assigned an overall score.

The top 100 ranked companies with the best overall scores are selected for the index. 

Thomson Reuters global head of environmental, social and governance, Elena Philipova, said the diversity and inclusion index, now in its third year, highlights the companies who are leading the way in imbedding these values into their company strategy.

“The industry is beginning to recognise the societal and business benefits of investing in diverse and inclusive companies and we are working closely with various investment firms who are looking to develop investable products based on our D&I index,” she said.

Outsell vice president and lead analyst, Will Jan, said recent studies revealed that diversity and inclusion correlated to value-creation and profitability. 

Woolworths Group chief people officer, Caryn Katsikogianis, said the company is are proud to be ranked high in the global diversity and inclusion index.

“It is welcome recognition of our efforts and progress in creating an inclusive culture across all of our businesses.

“As a group, we embrace the value diversity brings to our organisation and seek to provide an inclusive work environment that gives all our team members a sense of purpose and belonging.

“We want our customers to experience a welcoming and genuine team when they shop with us, and our diverse team is key to delivering this,” said Katsikogianis.

The Woolworths Group has been focused on a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives to create better experiences for its customers, team and communities.

These include refugee programs, LGBTI inclusion, gender pay parity and indigenous employment.

“This recognition is a testament to our 200,000 team members across Australia and New Zealand who make the Woolworths Group such a great place to work.

“As a customer-led business, we know it’s critical that our teams reflect the communities we serve. While we’ve made progress we know there is more we can do and we’ll continue working hard to build an even more diverse and inclusive workplace,” said Katsikogianis.

More than $7 million raised by Woolworths Group and customers for drought-affected farmers

The Woolworths Group, together with its customers, have raised more than $7 million to date for Rural Aid’s Buy a Bale appeal in support of farmers impacted by the drought.

The total includes Woolworths’ initial $1.5m, customer donations made at stores across the group – supermarkets, metro, BWS, Dan Murphy’s and Big W, as well as profits from sales in the fresh departments at Woolworths Supermarkets on the 11th of August.

The money is already being used by Rural Aid to deliver more livestock feed, cover essential household expenses and provide additional counselling support services to farmers in need in rural areas.

Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder said it had been incredible to see the whole nation rally together to help support the strong and resilient Australian farming community during this tough period.

READ: Australian farming sector holding up, despite ongoing drought

“The funds raised by Woolworths are already starting to help farmers who have reached out to us in urgent need of feed for their livestock, as well help with household expenses,” he said.

“Additionally we’ve been able to increase vital counselling services available for farming families in regional communities, with counsellors coming on board in Broken Hill and Lighting Ridge,” said Alder.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the group had been overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from customers and store teams in support of the Australian farming community.

“Our store teams, particularly in regional and rural areas, have continued to go above and beyond to support fundraising efforts because they know it makes a real difference for those impacted in their local community,” he said.

“We are proud to have collectively raised and donated more than $7m for Rural Aid’s Buy a Bale appeal, and we continue to look at ways to support their work above and beyond fundraising,” said Banducci.

Woolworths is also supporting the organisation with resourcing in the areas of logistics and planning.

Alder said moving livestock feed was a huge logistical challenge, but the group were working really hard with industry partners to support this.

“We are grateful to the additional support the Woolworths Group supply chain has been providing to ensure more hay and much needed supplies are getting to our farmers in need, as quickly as possible,” said Alder.