The NZ arm of Woolworths has been operating as Countdown since 2011 and is set to rebrand to Woolworths in a $400m NZD three year investment plan.
According to a statement released by Woolworths Group, the $400m NZD rebrand and refresh will be starting next year with older stores across the country. “The transformation includes more value for customers through a refreshed loyalty programme with the launch of Everyday Rewards for New Zealand planned for early 2024,” it read.
“Customers will also see more convenient eCommerce shopping options, a deeper connection to grassroots community activities, and further commitment to top quality fruit and vegetables with a state-of-the-art Christchurch Fresh Distribution Centre opening in 2024. This will complement the Auckland Fresh Distribution Centre which opened in 2022.”
Woolworths has long had a presence in Aotearoa New Zealand, openings its first store in Wellington in 1929. It now has become one of the country’s leading supermarkets with 194 Countdown stores across its network.
“In the coming months and years, you’re going to see us bringing the best of the Woolworths brand across the Tasman and equally sharing the best of what we have here with the broader Woolworths Group,” said Managing Director of Countdown and Woolworths Group New Zealand, Spencer Sonn. “We’re changing for the better and a name change for our stores is just one part of that.”
Other parts of the supermarket’s transformation programme include investing in making stores safer with an investment of $45m planned for adding security measures and upskilling team members. The business has also recently rolled out Sonder, a “wellbeing solution across Woolworths Group that provides 24/7 access to care, not only for all of its team, but all of their whānau [family/community] too.”
The New Zealand Commerce Commission investigated the state of the supermarket sector earlier this year and identified that two major grocery retailers dominate the market. Woolworths NZ and Foodstuffs have around 80 percent of the market in the country and the Commerce Commission raised concerns over the competition issues and the domination over the market. The Commission recommended the following changes: making more land available for new grocery stores, improving access to the wholesale supply of a wide range of groceries at competitive prices, requiring the criteria for obtaining supply and terms and conditions of supply to be transparent, monitoring strategic conduct by the major grocery retailers, and requiring major grocery retailers to ensure promotional and pricing practices, and the terms and conditions of loyalty programmes are easy for consumers to understand, among other suggestions.
“I’m excited by today’s announcement and what it means for our continued commitment to New Zealand and its ongoing importance to Woolworths Group,” said Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci
“The next stage of our transformation and the rebranding of our stores to Woolworths Supermarkets New Zealand, means we’re doubling down on our trans-Tasman connection to bring the very best to our Kiwi customers. That includes a refreshed loyalty programme focused on providing more value and a materially improved fresh offer.”
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