Woolworths is spending $65 million over the next year to make its supermarkets more inviting, including opening up the front of stores by removing gates, replacing trolleys and installing better lighting.
“What we’re after is having a great store every day for our customers,” Dave Chambers, director of supermarkets, told Fairfax Media.
“We need to have stores in the right place, we need to have a great network looking forward, we have to have the right price and we have to have a great experience for the customer.”
When Chambers started in the job earlier this year, he found shelves low on stock, the trolleys had seen better days, floors were in disrepair and customers were forced to queue at the checkouts.
Woolworths is now surveying customers daily about their shopping experience.
Woolworths is seeking a new CEO after a slump in profits. Last month it announced a full year worse than expected drop in profit, down 12.5% to $2.146 billion.
The CEO Grant O’Brien announced in June he was stepping down, citing the disappointing and below expectations results.
The rot started in December last year with subdued sales. This continued into 2015 with disappointing sales in April and no improvement in May and June.
In general, prices have been falling at both Woolworths and Coles as the big supermarkets face increasing pressure from smaller players including German group Aldi which is aggressively pushing into the Australian eastern states market.
This is squeezing the once fat margins of both groups.
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