It’s good to see Woolworths executive Dave Chalmers in the AFR this morning finally fessing up to some of the company’s woes. Most of the focus until now has been on stemming the losses from Masters, but Woolies has plenty of problems in its core supermarkets business too. When the New Zealander turned up in Sydney to take on his new role as head of Woolworths Supermarkets, Chambers says he was shocked by what he saw in stores:
Shelves were low on stock, the trolleys had seen better days, floors were in disrepair and customers were forced to queue at the checkout
He’s not joking. My local Woolworths is in a state of disrepair. So bad was it a few weeks ago that I started taking photos with my mobile phone. These are prime display shelves with not a product on them. Boxes are strewn all over the floor and there is not a staff member in sight.
It wasn’t as if I was walking around the store at three o’clock in the morning. This was a Tuesday night at 6:30pm. This next photo is of the most important display shelf in the whole supermarket. Every person who enters the store walks through a small fruit and vegetable section and then down a ramp into the main supermarket. This is what greeted me:
Half price all right. It will be Woolworths shares trading for half price if they don’t get their act together soon. Chambers has $65m set aside to fix the company’s problems. He’s going to need a lot more than that.
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