Internal Code: MAS 3968
Since being founded in Sydney in 1924, Woolworths Ltd had grown to be number two of the top 2000 companies in Australia by 2015. It now dominates the hypercompetitive Australian supermarket sector (worth in total 6 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product). With its
3000 stores across Australia and New Zealand, and more than 190 000 employees, it serves over 28 million customers each week. Operating profits exceed $60 billion.2 However, Woolworths and its chief competitor Wesfarmers (owner of Coles Group Limited) now face efficient and successful rivals: the German discount supermarket Aldi and the US membership warehouse club Costco. Both Woolworths and Wesfarmers exhibit high levels of total liabilities compared to their total tangible assets, due to goodwill and intangibles making up a significant proportion of total assets. Although both have strong operational cash flows, this may mean they carry higher risk in a trade downturn if they need to rely on increasing borrowings to fund capital expenditure.3 Add to this the predictions that 2015–20 will offer challenging conditions for the retail sector generally, and the task facing the Woolworths management team is significant. For example, does it stick with its espoused mission statement: ‘[Woolworths is] built on a passion for retail, attention to detail, working hard, ensuring the safety of our customers and our people, and having fun. Our mission is to deliver to customers the right shopping experience — each and every time’?
How has the workplace changed in the past twenty years and what are the implications of the changes? Where are the trends likely to take us in the next twenty years?
Schermerhorn, John R., Paul Davidson, Aharon Factor, David Poole, Peter Woods, Alan Simon, Ellen McBar. Management: Asia–Pacific Edition, 6th Edition. John Wiley & Sons Australia,, 08/2016. VitalBook file.
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