Known colloquially as “Woolies,” Woolworths, along with Coles, form a near duopoly of Australian supermarkets, together accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s market share. Unlike most grocery chains, which eventually expand into supermarket-department store hybrids, Woolworths actually began in 1924 with a larger variety of goods, but has slowly shifted to focus on food only, with a separate “Big W” brand opening in 1964 as a department store. Woolworths has had a focus on fresh eating since its “Fresh Food People” campaign began in 1987, and now includes organic, vegetarian, and gluten-free offerings as part of its “Macro Wholefoods Market” brand. In addition, in order to fit with most shopper’s budgets and desires, the company introduced “Homebrand,” “Select,” “Gold,” and “Fresh” labels.
Despite the similarity in name, Woolworths has no affiliation with the F.W. Woolworth Company’s now-defunct Woolworth’s five-and-dime stores in America.