Posted on :
6 Jun, 2012
6 Jun, 2012
The first Woolworths store opened its doors to the public in Cape Town in October 1931. Since then, we’ve been building on our reputation for superior quality, exciting innovation and excellent value.
Founder Max Sonnenberg faced uncertain economic times when he captured the public’s imagination with a dynamic store policy that set Woolworths apart from its competitors. Three years later, a second branch opened in Durban, with another two in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg a year later. Over the past 80 years, our unique formula has seen the number of stores grow to over 400 across South Africa, Africa and the Middle East.
Keen to attract and retain the best retail professionals, Woolworths was among the first local retailers to offer employees a pension fund, medical aid and maternity leave.
Not just a forward thinking employer, Woolworths was also an early adopter of technology. A lease agreement for the first computer was agreed to with National Cash Registers (NCR) in the late 60s, and Woolworths was already using a computerised merchandising system by the early 1970s.
This dynamic thinking extends to Woolworths product offering as well. For example, in 1974, Woolworths became the first South African retailer to introduce ‘sell by’ dates on food packaging. Convenience, too, has long been a watchword at Woolworths: we were the first South African retailer to offer pre-washed lettuce and machine-washable wool clothing to consumers.
Throughout our 80-year history, though Woolworths has grown, evolved and adapted to the changing world, the brand has remained true to its core values of quality and style, service, integrity, value, energy, innovation and sustainability.
In April 2007, we launched our Good business journey – a bold plan to make a difference in four key areas on our journey towards sustainability. Our comprehensive plan sets targets across four priority areas: transformation, social development, the environment and climate change. We are exceedingly proud to have been named international Responsible Retailer of the year in 2008 and 2010 in recognition of our efforts to help shape a better future for generations to come.
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE EVERY DAY
Known to generations of South Africans as ‘Woolies’, Woolworths is the only retailer of its kind in the country, offering fashion, food, beauty and homeware under its own brand name, as well as some carefully selected, well-known brands including Country Road and Trenery. Woolworths also offers a range of financial services in partnership with Absa Bank.
Since its founding in 1931, Woolworths has earned its unique position in the South African landscape by remaining true to its core values of quality, integrity, style, innovation and sustainability and to its promise of offering high quality and exceptional value, and by constantly working to make ‘the difference’ for its customers every day.
We’re passionate about quality, value, service, innovation and sustainability and about putting our customers first. This means we’re always working to deliver on trend, top quality products that offer great value and finding ways to make a difference to the lives of our customers.
QUALITY AND VALUE
Over the years we’ve kept our promise to earn the trust of our customers and set the benchmark for quality. Our commitment to superior quality and value means we’re always thinking of new ways to do things better and add more value to your life.
LEADING THROUGH INNOVATION
In every area of our business, we’re bringing you the best we can find – from revolutionary new fabrics and exciting new foods to pioneering sustainability initiatives and making sure our products are responsibly sourced.
Our ‘Farming for the Future’ initiative is all about improving soil and water quality, saving water and encouraging biodiversity – without adding to the price. As part of our Good business journey , we’re working with our farms to give back to nature and preserve our precious resources for generations to come.
Because we believe in the principles of responsible citizenship, we’re focused on environmental and economic sustainability and building successful partnerships with our suppliers and communities to make sure our community is healthy, safe and secure. We’re actively engaged in economic upliftment projects around South Africa and work with numerous small (often community-based) enterprises who supply Woolworths with everything from fresh herbs to beautiful bed and table linen.
We strive to innovate, uplift, educate and make a difference in communities across South Africa. For example, every month, we donate more than R1.5 million on behalf of our customers to schools, charities and environmental organisations through our MySchool My Village My Planet programme.
MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
Staying true to our core values means we depend on our strong tradition of integrity and culture of service. Our focus on innovation and passion for excellence ensures we make a difference to all South Africans, now and in the future.
FAST FACTS ABOUT WOOLIES: