TGIFOOD

STORE WARS

Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay? Food store giants are battling for your footfall

Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay? Food store giants are battling for your footfall
They want you. (Photo and composite: Tony Jackman)

Woolworths has always been a hard act to beat for quality food shopping, but there are challengers in the mall who would lure your footfall out of Woolies’ stores and into their own. And they mean serious business.

The cult of Woolies has for many years seen moneyed South Africans filling up their trolleys with fine fare on their way home from work and lining up at the tills, happy to pay a premium for quality. This has been the habit of many for years, even decades, since Woolies went with big guns blazing to corner that sector of the growing market, as food turned from mere essential eating into a cultural phenomenon. But now the cult is being challenged, and Woolies is having to look to its well-burnished laurels.

A salvo from Checkers

With Checkers having launched a high-end salvo into the terrain that has been held by Woolworths for decades, and Pick n Pay also entering the fray by splitting their stores into lower and higher-end brands, things are looking up for customers seeking classy fare to put in their kitchen cupboards and fridges.

That we even have a nickname for our fancy food store of choice — Woolies — makes it an even higher mountain to climb for both of the challengers. But boy do they mean business, with millions being put into creating eye-catching food departments in their newbuild stores or others that have been and are being revamped. One factor that both Checkers and Pick n Pay have to contend with is the loyalty bond Woolies has with its customer base. Many will not easily be pried away.

Curtain up on the theatre of battle

Enter, from stage left, Checkers FreshX, and from stage right, a Pick n Pay brand re-envisaged. Holding firm at centre stage is Woolworths, whose top-notch Woolworths Food stores are impossible to miss in many high-end malls, and they too, in their newer guises, have had a smart revamp.

If a store rebranded as ‘Pick n Pay’ sounds like the same old same old, the difference is this: the Pick n Pay brand, unqualified, now denotes the higher end of their offerings, while the lower end is rebranded as Pick n Pay QualiSave. “Pick n Pay” as of now refers to the core brand boosted to a higher echelon. The intention with that last name (QualiSave) is to encapsulate both the notion of lower prices with the promise of quality for those lower prices. So Pick n Pay is not telling us that QualiSave necessarily means lower quality; it’s the price component that they are emphasising.

It would be hard not to believe that Pick n Pay having been split into Pick n Pay and QualiSave is not a response to Checkers having introduced its Checkers FreshX in 2016, which arrived on the scene with aplomb and is growing fast, and it looks, frankly, quite dazzling. The word on the street is that this brand has caught the attention of some of those who have always favoured Woolies for this end-of-the-food shop milieu.

That nickname spells loyalty

But Woolies is one tough cookie to beat. That nickname spells loyalty, and that is a human characteristic that we prize and hold onto with stoicism and pride. Can the others contend with that and win? Or are there enough customers to go around? Will one brand see its footfall start to slide?

Where the three brands differ is in the broader range of goods available in this sector of their stores. Once upon a time, the chief competitors, Checkers and Pick n Pay (not necessarily in that order), went about their business of vying for your custom by price cutting, special offers and bright and colourful advertising. There was no obvious contest for the echelon of the market that would offer parsnips and celeriac alongside the carrots and onions, and scallops and clams alongside the hake and fish fingers.

There’s one factor that could make the difference: Checkers introduced its FreshX brand, which is a hybrid of what both Checkers and Pick n Pay offered — a food section alongside aisles of everyday household goods, toiletries and the like — and the fancy food goods that we have long thanked Woolworths for.

One thing that Woolies has never done

Pick n Pay entered the fray at this end too, dividing its stores into two distinct brands. Both Pick n Pay and Checkers, with their new upmarket stores, do one thing that Woolworths has never done: they still have several aisles of regular household goods in the remainder of their new supermarket spaces. This means that, unlike at Woolworths, you can go high-end food shopping and also do the rest of your household shop, all in one branch of either of these two chains. Hands up all those who customarily shop both at Woolies and at one or other of the other stores? And will you still need to do that if you now switch either to Checkers FreshX or to Pick n Pay restyled? This is the nub of the battle for your footfall.

As an observer, it seems to me that Pick n Pay has missed a beat by not adapting the old name slightly. Staff are known to refer to the higher-end brand as Pick n Pay “blue”, which is an excellent idea that was apparently not made official. It would have made the distinction emphatically clear. In-house, calling it “blue” differentiates it from the “red” that denotes the lower-end QualiSave brand.

Beyond that, the choice is yours as to whether you prefer the quality food offerings at Pick n Pay over Checkers, or at Checkers over Pick n Pay. What seems clear on close examination is that Checkers’ FreshX brand has gone closer to the range and quality of Woolworths, while Pick n Pay has introduced some fancy lines alongside a great many regular brands, all in a more luxuriously decorated store environment. This is not surprising, as Pick n Pay has always made it clear that it is particularly competitive with its product ranges and the ever-promised lower prices. So this may work in the chain’s favour in the fight for football. In an environment in which money is as tight as it is now, Pick n Pay could win the battle on this point alone.

Read in Daily Maverick: Woolworths goes back to basics

To get a bead on how the three brands work, on the ground so to speak, I checked into the Boardwalk Hotel in Gqeberha which is attached to the new Boardwalk Mall right across from the sea. The mall has branches of all three of the stores under discussion, and I spent time in each one, doing comparisons. Here is what I found:

Checkers

When you walk in, you’re entering the vegetable section with all its freshness and bright colours, and this is a winning choice. But even better is that, right across the entrance, is a beautiful array of flowers for sale. It’s as feelgood and inviting as you could hope for. I felt my mood lifted even as I ventured inside. There’s even a jaunty vintage VW Kombi with veg packed in at the rear. A design triumph. Somewhere inside it, there are Shaddock pomelos to intrigue the citrus lover. The impression is of effort and thought.

Beyond this section, much more appeals to the eye and the senses. 

All over are displays of their own Forest and Feast range which includes ingredients from Asian braai sauce and habanero sauce to eucalyptus and wildflower honey, 100% pure maple syrup and jars of caponata. The range is very extensive.

Cross-merchandising is everywhere, just as it is at Pick n Pay. Where there is ham there will be mustard, where there is beef and chops there will be basting sauces. You see one thing and your eye falls on the other; do we have mustard at home? Not sure, let’s grab a jar.

Cross-merchandising at Checkers. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

One area where Checkers is significantly better is in its cheese range; they trounce both of the other stores in this and also in charcuterie. The difference between the extent of the charcuterie sector at Checkers compared with both other stores is notable. Will all of it actually sell? Well, that may be a factor that Woolworths with its much more limited range knows something about. But for the customer, it’s a massive win. And the joy of charcuterie is its longevity, which may be the factor that had Checkers choosing this route.

Charcuterie at Checkers FreshX. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

Fresh fish? Checkers FreshX has it, Pick n Pay (at this branch) doesn’t. Checkers is also the one that has frozen clams, yellowfin tuna, scallops and the like. The frozen fish and other frozen seafood ranges at Woolies and Checkers are pretty evenly matched overall.

What Checkers itself says: “When visiting a Checkers FreshX store, customers are exposed to a world-class, gourmet journey via a large selection of in-store speciality food departments, such as a cheese deli, bakery, butchery, wine shop, coffee shop, and sushi, pizza or burger bars, giving them the opportunity to smell, feel and often sample products before they buy. In addition, the wide array of exclusive private label brands such as Forage & Feast, Simple Truth, and Oh My Goodness!, cater to health-conscious and convenience-driven consumers of all ages.” 

The new look supermarkets offer “a clutter-free environment, wider aisles and seamless floors for a more tranquil shopping experience, with a store layout that has been designed to make it effortless for customers to find foods that are suited to their lifestyle and dietary requirements”.  

I was surprised to learn that the first FreshX store opened as early as 2016, in the Mall of Africa. As at 1 January 2023, they say, the Checkers FreshX format had increased to 77 stores, with plans to continue upgrading more Checkers stores to the new-look format. Knowing I was visiting in particular the Boardwalk, Gqeberha, store, they responded to my questions:

“The first FreshX concept store opened in April 2016 in the Mall of Africa. By close of the 2022 financial year (Jul 2021-Jun 2022) the Checkers FreshX format had increased to 59 stores, with plans to continue upgrading more Checkers stores to the new-look format.

Fresh and frozen fish at Checkers FreshX. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

“The Eastern Cape’s first Checkers FreshX supermarket opened in September 2022, creating 138 new jobs in Gqeberha. The unique upmarket shopping experience at Checkers FreshX Boardwalk Mall includes: a fish counter with a wide range of seafood including fresh oysters, whole prawns (cleaned), farmed sea bass and abalone; a sushi bar; a bakery with artisan breads and a sophisticated range of confectioneries and luxury cakes by Soet Cakes; stone-baked pizzas; a selection of meats and veggies expertly prepared on an imported rodizio grill; a Meat Market with free range chicken and restaurant-quality steak; fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers; a Foreign Ground coffee shop; exclusive private label brands such as Forage & Feast and Simple Truth; purified water on tap; and a Money Market counter. 

Meat at Checkers FreshX. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

Pick n Pay

One of the first things you see when walking in is pears and apples, how do you like them? Pink Lady, Starking, Golden Delicious, Cripps Pink, Honey Red, Cripps Red, Fuji, and even more. It’s as if they’re saying, come here for variety, and come and see what else we have for you.

Meat is neatly presented and there’s Wagyu beef too. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

Cross-merchandising is key to the approach, as it is at Checkers. It is evident everywhere you look and a key part of the PnP approach is to have feature sections showing off particular wares, such as biscuits, coffee, chocolates, and so on. The eye is drawn to them and then to the extent of what they’re offering in each category. You’re sure to pop a few extra things in the trolley as a result.

Cross-merchandising at Pick n Pay. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

Pick n Pay itself explains the concept as follows: “The stores we have now are Pick n Pay (more aspirational shopping experience, middle- to higher-income shoppers) and Pick n Pay QualiSave (delivering lower prices and great quality to customers in the lower- to middle-income).

Droolworthy breads at Pick n Pay, made in-house every morning while we’re all asleep. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

The chain claims to have 18,000 products in its food sector, which they call a “shop within a shop” experience. Stores now boast a coffee bar and “customers are welcomed into the store with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, spacious aisles and creative and curated product displays appropriately themed to suit the season or holidays”, which mirrors the Checkers FreshX approach. It is clear to see that the competition is fierce and intentional. Just compare the two brands: Pick n Pay has its Crafted Collection by PnP, Checkers its Forage and Feast, purported to have the approval of Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, which doesn’t mean he necessarily developed the products. It would be hard not to believe that one did not follow the other in planning these ranges, especially their labels, which are similar in style and thinking, even if colours and fonts differ.

Checkers in-house brands

Compare the stylish labels of the Pick n Pay and Checkers in-house brands. (Photos: Tony Jackman)

The in-house butchery has an extensive meat selection, all arranged with style. There’s Wagyu beef and dry-aged meat. The cheese selection seems to be on a rather grand scale but on inspection, the choices within it are not close to the effort at Checkers Fresh X. It is placed near the wine section which makes sense.

There is what they call a bakery “theatre” (the offerings are impressive, including artisan bread, croissants and cakes, all made in-house) The bakery staff are the first in in the morning, at 4am.

And the Crafted Collection by PnP range is everywhere, a far cry from the old No Name brand of earlier incarnations. “Products range across food and grocery items from fynbos infused virgin olive oils and smoky tomato ketchup to fresh produce such as cold meats and winter soups, and a full range of chocolate boxes, shortbreads and premium teas,” is the promise.

Your eye is drawn to special sections. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

There’s a “Livewell” range, a plant-based offering and a PnP Kidz range.

“We launched over 1,000 new private label products last year alone to drive innovation and meet customer needs, with a further 1,000 set to launch in the coming year,” Pick n Pay says. “The new ‘Innovations’ range is creating huge excitement with customers, as many of the products are new to South African shelves but locally made. Products include Caviar limes, Tatayoyo peppers, purple Brussels sprouts, honey red apples, and purple gem sweet potatoes. Many of these are exclusive to Pick n Pay, and foodie customers are really enjoying the exciting new variety.”

Woolworths

The messaging begins even at the entrance: “All of the flavour; none of the effort.” It carries on throughout the store. “Living well starts with eating well. Find the food you need to live well”, and there are subcategories: “a colourful variety of sustainably farmed fruit and vegetables”; “free range meat never treated with routine antibiotics or growth stimulants”; “more responsibly sourced fish and seafood that’s kept chilled and handled with care from farm to shelf”; “a wide range of healthy fats”; “food made with less saturated fat, with less sugar and salt, with no MSG, tartrazine or azo dyes”.

Woolies is emphatically clear about what it is offering. It is the most defined of the three store chains.

A Woolworths entrance.

Local and fresh. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

There’s more:”working towards a zero huger future”; “90% of our produce is grown in South Africa”; ditto for flowers and plants. 

The difference? “Before we pick our fruit and vegetables, we pick our farmers. They’re as obsessed with quality as we are.”

Their frozen fish range is superb, though a direct comparison with Checkers suggests they are evenly matched in this regard. I spotted lemon and herb rainbow trout, chilli and lime Norwegian salmon, teriyaki Norwegian salmon “steamer”, lemon and dill half Norwegian salmon side, yellowfin tuna, and elsewhere there were panko crumbed chicken breasts, plant-powered protein burger patties, Angus beef, though I found no Wagyu.

Excellent frozen seafood at Woolies. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

The vegetable section at Woolworths has long been impressive and it is the store where you are most likely to find those seasonal ingredients that make the difference, whether parsnips or asparagus, celeriac or artichokes. You can even buy mini daisies to garnish your salads with.

You can even buy edible daisies. (Photos and composite: Tony Jackman)

Again, it is, ironically, the other things that make the difference between Woolies on one hand and Pick n Pay and Checkers on the other: those household goods that we all have to buy. In the latter two cases, you can do the entire shop in one store. But not at Woolies where the household items have always been more limited.

Checkers has the formula exactly right. In one store you can segue out of the seriously top-notch food aisles and, in the next few long aisles, are all the other goodies you shop for, in the abundance you’re accustomed to.

The Store Wars continue. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steven D says:

    In my experience, the service at Woolworths is entirely different to that at PnP and Checkers. At Woolworths, the staff seem genuinely interested to help – one guy even kept a product aside for me for a few days when he received a restock of it after they’d run out. At the other two, it’s always come across to me that I come across to them as a “nuisance” when asking for help. It’s a similar story with the cashiers: Woolworths’ cashiers are quick and courteous. I’ve always had to stand in a slow-moving queue at every Checkers and PnP store – boy do those till operators take their time. I know you’ll find far more of the population shopping at the latter two than the former but then the latter should go about their business knowing they’ve got more people to serve.

    I think it was summed up quite nicely by comedian Kevin Fraser a few years back:
    At Woolworths, the cashier asks, “Would you like a shopping bag, sir?”

    At PnP, they ask, “Do you need a bag?”

    At Checkers, they ask, “Plastic?”

    • winston.popsandogies says:

      the PNP I go to ,is appalling. run by the staff :loud and disinterested in their jobs. .filthy shelves ,un priced items and car guards harassing shoppers like beggars . I never buy any meat ,eggs etc. only cleaning materials and coffee specials .The
      bakery is and insult.

    • Mark Gory Gory says:

      Quite

    • Luan Sml says:

      I absolutely agree!

    • Tony B says:

      Totally agree.

    • Robert Gornal says:

      I have to agree. The local Pick ‘n Pay seems managerless. There is a lack of prices and the scanner available for checking the price, assuming you know there is one, has not been working for some time. I wanted to draw money the other Friday and none of the cashiers had money and only because I insisted did they actually go to the back and get me some cash. Had I not been insistent they would not have done so, apprently not interested in putting in any effort to keep customers happy. The staff at Woolies are much better trained, courteous and more knowledgeable. Surprising how many items are similiarly priced at our local Woolies and PnP which share the shopping mall.

    • Mario Cremonte says:

      Disagree, as in Cape Town we have excellent PnP and Checkers stores, all with exceptional employees who go out of their way to assist with sincere courtesy.
      Woolies truly needs to up their game.

    • Liz Cowan says:

      Completely agree re the hugely different shopping experience between the 3 stores. Woollies staff make all the difference – they are super friendly and eager to help. In addition there are always people on the floor to help. It is such a pleasurable experience to shop there. The Checkers staff are next, but way below the Woolworths level of service. And there are way less the number of people on the floor to assist. But worst is Pick and Pay. They cannot get it right. The staff are surly, unhelpful and move at a super slow pace. They shuffle and amble along as if they couldn’t care less about efficiency – and they don’t. No amount of quality goods will temp me to shop there – it is a horrid experience.

  • ELSA GODDEN says:

    The one aspect not mentioned, is credit facilities and discount vouchers. Woolworths offers credit and discount vouchers; PnP and Checkers have no credit facilities or emphasis on loyalty vouchers.

  • Mark Gory Gory says:

    Where ww will always score way above the rest is its staff and the WW culture. No amount of window dressing at Shoprite or PNP will replicate the relatively painless ww experience.
    Shoprite staff just don’t get it. Surly and uninformed. Likewise pnp.
    Im not a Wagyu fan anyway…..

  • R IA says:

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by the ‘regular household goods’ that you can get at Checkers and Pick ‘n Pay but not Woolies. For me, I for sure can do a complete shop at Woolworths. Their fresh food is great, but their range of household products is also fine, and I don’t think costs any more than at other places.

    • Erica Morris says:

      Totally agree. They may not have the range in those products but you can always find a product that does the job. I also appreciate that my shop is quicker at Woolworths. You don’t have to walk past rows and rows of items to find an item that will do the job. Who needs fifty types of bleaching products anyway?

    • Barry Taylor says:

      totally agree, the small branch I go to in Centurion has a full selection. Staff are courteous and the pies and rotisserie chicken gorgeous.

  • Luan Sml says:

    To me entering a woolies food store is heaving a sigh of relief, it’s a breath of fresh air “literally” as I pass through the flowers and the fruit and veggies, I am greeted by friendly and helpful staff, their careful selection and nurturing of food producers feeds my food ethos and the product offering fits my purchasing style… more is not always better, I prefer a carefully curated shopping experience and don’t need a choice of 7 different washing powders or a range of toilet rolls… life is short, just give me the right essential stuff, I’m here for the food!
    To me woolies is about trust and values and ethics… that’s the hard part to put on a shelf!

    • Jane Crankshaw says:

      You’ve described my feelings on entering a Woolies outlet perfectly! It doesn’t matter which town or province it’s in ….you know the service and quality is going to be the same. And you’re not even paying more for the experience!

  • Roy Haines says:

    The Woolies difference is in the smile. I will happily pay that little bit extra just for that. I just hate the surly PnP staff.

  • Musick Mama says:

    PnP and Checkers have tried to emulate the WW ready-meals model but the quality is inferior Eg The checkers beef pie is R5 cheaper but has almost no meat in it so I went back to WW pie, happy to pay R5 more but get better value. Same with many other ready meals, cheaper but significantly worse quality.
    Re “other” groceries I find WW cleaning products priced the same or less than PnP and quality absolutely fine. Fresh food from WW lasts longer eg carrots from PnP/ checkers go off after a few days but WW ones stay edible, therefore provide better value as I’m not wasting food. Checkers “other” groceries are, ironically, often more expensive than PnP which amuses me. You’d think they offer more discounts due to bigger buying power, but they fool us with that thinking and sneak in higher prices for vitamins, loo paper, cleaning stuff, cereals, tinned food etc.
    PnP used to have a wide range of foods but have significantly reduced choice eg used to offer 4 different brands of tinned tomatoes but now offer just one – LiveWell in house brand which has lots of liquid and fewer actual tomatoes, again a decrease in quality and increase in price. WW tinned tomatoes are same price but better quality. It’s a no brainer why I prefer shopping at WW!

  • Chris Marshall says:

    One aspect not addressed is the investment in infrastructure by these giants of retail. Checkers is the clear leader by investing heavily in solar PV renewable energy generation at its supermarkets. This is a no brainer considering the risk of power outages to the cold chain, let alone the cost of mains electricity and other forms of small scale embedded generation. Municipalities should be doing their best to encourage and facilitate such investment as it is critical to food security. The initiative taken by Checkers is enough to swing them in my favour as they stock most of the products that I need.

  • Uma Kabanye says:

    Wow, what a terrific advert for Woolies! Frankly, I don’t find the huge price difference justified by the modest improvement in quality. But then I’m not rich.

    • virginia crawford says:

      Woolies staff are friendly but their Dash App has been nothing but a headache. They have some complicated way of reimbursing you when something ordered doesn’t arrive: they refuse to credit your account or make it simple. And when I did check, they hadn’t reimbursed me for everything. I didn’t receive an apology or explanation. Likewise when the address on my profile was changed: first response, that’s impossible; second response, it was a random thing. Whatever that is. My bank and other personal details, are they secure? Not sure, and I suspect, nor are they.

  • I’m sorry there was no focus on the customer experience at the checkout. My closest supermarket is a Pick n Pay but I seldom use it because there are never enough check outs open and queues are long and slow. There is not even a dedicated under 10 items checkout so one can be caught behind someone buying a months shopping and paying all their utility accounts. Woolies has just one queue and one goes to the first available cashier. Time is money!

  • Mike Newton says:

    Checkers opened a new store in a small mall near me, which also has a Woolies food. Since then I hardly ever go to P&P. Their downgrading of their rewards programme does not help them. Checkers 60 60 caught the others flat footed. You need to check prices. Woolies is not always more expensive than Checkers. Where Woolies really wins, for me, is in it’s commitment to MSG free food. MSG is a migraine trigger for many people. But their range of frozen vegies leaves much to be desired.

  • Roelf Jansen says:

    I love Woolworths for not playing loud music. I usually start shopping at Checkers for the essentials & then beat a hasty retreat by the time the music gets unbearable. I then continue at the adjoining Woolworths for all the remaining items on my shopping list.

    • virginia crawford says:

      What is it with the very loud music in every shop in Rosebank Mall? I’m sure the staff suffer hearing damage but apparently the volume is controlled from head office.

  • Helga Werndle says:

    I find Woolworths the most tedious to shop from – for the way I go about it. Namely, I look for the article, check whether it is what I want, the price must be within the for me acceptable price range – and finished. My price range is defined by experience plus feeling. Prices are hard to find at Woolworths shops and it often takes too long. The staff is pleasant and well mannered, a definite drawcard, but it all takes too long.

  • Camille Augustus says:

    With the interest rate climbing, we’ve had to make an effort to get good quality at lower prices, especially for fruit, which we stop to buy regularly. Woolies is always top notch, but Checkers has upped its quality significantly for much less. With Checkers 60 and their loyalty programme offering good discounts, we’ve slowly moved over. Woolies has become a much less frequent stop, with Checkers now a surprising serious competitor for our loyalty. We hardly shop at Pick ‘n Pay at all anymore, renovated or not, even though we have 2 branches closer to home. Their fruit is poor quality, with half the pack always bruised, which frustrates you after you’ve spent good money. I find their new refurbishment to be physically cold and disconnected – I want to get in and out quickly now, I’m afraid.

  • Erica Morris says:

    What I’ve found interesting is that on many basic household items Woolworths had the lower price. Because shoppers don’t expect this to be the case they automatically head off to P n P or Checkers for paper and cleaning products. My husband has gone to one if these and I stayed at Woolies. We compared prices by text message. We also found bulk buying to be costlier. You often pay less by weight for smaller packaging.

  • scotspot says:

    Seems strange that this very detailed article does not mention on-line sales at all?
    Anecdotally, judging from scooter sightings, Checkers seem to be winning in that arena hands-down.

  • Louise Wilkins says:

    Checkers fruit & veg may look great, but they last half as long as Woolies produce does. I’ve found this over and over. Secondly, the staff as Woolies are friendly and helpful, whereas the others make you feel like an annoyance. Woolies is still superior to the others by far.

  • Trevor Rubelli says:

    Why don’t all branches stock the Woolworth’s Smoked Snoek Terrine ?
    Durban North has three branches (Yes! 3) and none stock this product – ever
    As a result I mostly refuse to shop at Woolworths and usually only buy this one product at other branches when or if passing
    As regards the atitude of staff at all three chains I’m seldom disappointed as I make a point of greeting all I pass or come across and often very pleasantly surprised on how well most return the greeting/salutation

  • Change is good sa says:

    Woolies undoubtably have the best training for their staff. Let’s hope that they are rewarded for their good service.
    Woolies is always one step ahead and they understand the zeitgeist. They understand convenience food for different cultural groups and the new generation of health conscious consumers which is brilliantly communicated in store. For a vegetarian, their fruit and vegetables are the only choice. Stores do not have to have 1000 choices of anything, this is consumerism gone mad. This is where Checkers and PNP get it wrong, they think luxury is choice, but actually future luxury will be straight from the farm to table, the purest food for premium health. Factory produced food will be the lowest form of luxury. Checkers is all meat and sauces, not sustainable at all and hugely unhealthy. The one thing that Woolies got right long before the others caught on, is the convenience of the corner store in regional shopping centres. Large format shopping Mall offerings are a turn off for busy people. Fish – our oceans are collapsing and we need to eat less fish, but PnPay and Checkers are promoting a disturbing choice as luxury. Our food supply chain needs to lead the way in this. Woolies is right up there in the future. Now they need to work on alternatives for plastic food packaging. Whomever does this first will have the future generation premium customer for life.

  • I currently live alone as we are relocating. I get better WW meals at the garage store than I get at the Galleria Branch. The staff at Galleria are awesome but I have noticed a drop in state of the store. I also buy most of my clothes at WW as they have sizing that fits perfectly. BUT – this new pride month and the kids clothes with these logo’s on them have done it for me. My WW spend of around R5k per month and the family spend in CT will also disappear. I don’t care what people do behind closed doors but when you start indocrinating kids I start caring. Cheers WW – may the Dischem outcome become yours too.

  • Dr Gerard Norris says:

    Another excellent article Tony. So thoroughly researched. Thank you. Our family reads every word of each one of your articles with delight. This is a test message – and would like to comment further on the WW/PnP/Checkers analysis.

  • Mike Newton says:

    Woolies prepared foods have no MSG. MSG is a migraine trigger for many people. It is worth paying a premium.

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