Australia’s biggest supermarket is struggling. Steve Jones spoke to industry experts about how Woolworths’ marketing strategy has faltered, and whether the brand can revive its fortunes.
When Woolworths chief executive Grant O’Brien fell on his sword last month after another disappointing set of quarterly figures, it surprised no one. Without a chief marketer following the abrupt departure of Tony Phillips – and with several other high profile executives exiting stage left in recent months – it was just another in a long line of senior level departures at the embattled supermarket. According to industry observers the management upheaval is symptomatic of a business which has not only lost its way but one that is unable to find a solution to its decline in sales.
To add insult to injury, Woolworths is facing a threat to its market leading position in a sub-sector it has dominated for decades – fresh food. As sporting analogies go – and they are often used to describe the successes, or struggles in the commercial world – it is one few disagree with.