Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Woolworths boss defends Australia Day decision

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has defended the retailer’s decision to not sell Australia Day merchandise this year.

In his statement to the Australian public, he also asked “everyone to treat our team with respect”.

“As a proud Australian and New Zealand retailer, we aren’t trying to ‘cancel’ Australia Day,” he says.

“Rather, Woolworths is deeply proud of our place in providing the fresh food that brings Australians together every day. As evidenced during Covid or increasingly natural disasters such as what is currently unfolding with Cyclone Kirrily in Northern Queensland. Woolworths will always support Australians in the moments that matter.”

Mr Banducci says that the decision to not stock specific Australia Day general merchandise was made on the basis of “steeply declining sales”.

“The decision to stock this mostly imported merchandise has to be made almost 12 months in advance,” he says. “So as a business decision, it doesn’t make commercial sense.”

Mr Baducci says rather than stocking imported Australian themed merchandise, Woolworths is focusing on what “we do best 365 days of the year”, that being “providing the best of Australian fresh food for Australia Day long weekend gatherings with family and friends and working hard to ensure we deliver great value”.

“There are many other ways in which we are supporting our customers and our team to celebrate Australia, such as acknowledging the best of Australian products in our stores and online and supporting our team to mark Australia Day with their local community,” he says.

“As a first generation Australian who gratefully calls Australia home, I look forward to getting together with my family and I hope that you too spend Australia Day in your own way and cherish what it means to be Australian.”

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