Woolworths Group will not be selling any Australia Day-themed merchandise this year due to a decline in demand for such products and a shift in cultural sensitivity.
Woolworths Group – which includes Big W – said it made the decision in response to “broader discussions” about January 26th and its meaning to the country’s diverse communities.
However, the company’s online marketplace, My Deal, has confirmed it will continue to sell Australia Day-themed products through third-party sellers.
“While Australian flags are sold within BIG W all year round, we don’t have any additional themed merchandise available to purchase in-store in our supermarkets or BIG W ahead of Australia Day,” a Woolworths Group spokesperson told 9News.
This move by Woolworths follows Kmart’s decision last year to stop selling Australia Day-specific products to be more inclusive.
Meanwhile, Coles has stated that it will continue to sell Australia Day merchandise.
“We are stocking a small range of Australian-themed summer entertaining merchandise throughout January, which is popular with our customers for sporting events such as cricket and tennis, as well as for the Australia Day weekend,” a Coles spokesperson told Canberra Times.
The national date has long been controversial, with many referring to it as “Invasion Day” and some major employers opting to allow workers to take the day off on a different day.
During an interview on Sydney’s 2GB radio station, opposition leader Peter Dutton urged consumers to boycott Woolworths, accusing the supermarket chain’s CEO, Brad Banducci, of being too progressive.
“Australians should boycott Woolworths,” said Dutton. “I think Brad Banducci should come out and announce that he’s reversing the decision.”
“I think the prime minister, frankly, needs to call it out because these CEOs do believe that by making these crazy decisions, somehow they’re signing up to the woke agenda of Anthony Albanese.”
Last year, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated that the federal government would not change the date or provide reparations payments to Indigenous Australians.
“It is a day to show respect to First Nations people,” said the Prime Minister in a recent interview with Melbourn radio station Fox.
“We understand that it can be difficult for them, but it’s also a day for us to reflect on what it means to be Australian and how we can make our country even better in the future.”