Angst ‘rife’ among Woolworths’ suppliers

Woolworths oasisI am sometimes prompted by readers to write articles on a certain topic. Recently I was asked to write one on Woolworths and my response was that I have already written several and so have others. It is hardly newsworthy anymore to bash Woolworths and one can’t help feeling sorry for Brad Banducci, the new CEO.

But just when one thinks there will be a lull in the Woolworths saga, something else raises its ugly head.

On May 6 2015, almost a year ago to the day, Sophie Langley from Australian Food News wrote an article titled, ‘Woolworths announces new strategies to win over grocery shoppers’.

Brad (not Grant O’Brien) announced that Woolworths was outlining its three-year strategy to win the trust of its customers, and increase its share of customers’ food spend through lower prices and “improving all aspects of their shopping experience”.

“We are placing the customer at the start of everything we do. This strategy will result in lower prices, more compelling offers, and greater innovation.”

A year is not a long time but what progress has been made?

On May 3 2016, just a few days ago, Inside Retail wrote in their article, ‘Woolworths sales decline’:

“Woolworths’ hefty investment in lowering grocery prices has failed to show any sign business is turning around. The retailer’s food and liquor sales declined 0.9 per cent in the third quarter when the figures are adjusted for Easter.”

And Woolworths went on to say they are throwing another $150 million to reduce prices!

Meanwhile there are rumours that Woolworths is eyeing investment opportunities. One would have thought that they had enough on their plate at the moment.

Woolworths has another problem which has not yet received much publicity. And that is the distaste, dislike, diffidence or plain old hate that some suppliers have towards Woolworths.

The comments I receive include adjectives such as dictatorial, arrogant, overly demanding, unreasonable and so the list goes on.

I invite any Woolworths supplier to email us in the strictest confidence merely stating in the subject “Dissatisfied” or “Satisfied”.  If the response is reasonable, we will announce the results in due course.

Brad, if you don’t have the support of your suppliers, you are dead. As my grandfather used to say: “The camel driver has his thoughts and the camel, he has his.” Brad, the camels are not happy.

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702.

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