Woolworths Butchers Close Up Shop

January 31, 2023

Woolworths has announced the closure of 250 butcher shops within its Australian supermarkets, citing increased customer demand for pre-packaged meats.

When the 250 butcher counters close in March, 489 jobs will be lost, including 420 trade qualified butchers and 69 non-trade staff.

Woolworths' intention to close the majority of its in-store butcher shops comes on the heels of Coles' decision to close in-store butchers in 2021.

Woolworths stated in a statement on Friday that only 50 of the estimated 300 in-store butchers now in operation would continue open past March. Woolworths believes that it currently operates up to 1,000 supermarkets.

"We've recently conducted a review into our instore butcher shops and found that they account for just 4 per cent of meat sales as customers continue to move towards our more convenient pre-packaged options," the statement read.

"We've made the difficult decision to close the majority of our remaining butcher counters over the coming months, with the exception of 50 stores where they are supported by the necessary customer demand.

"We deeply regret the impact of this decision on the team members who work in our butcher shops and we know many of them are well known by our regular customers.

"Across all stores, we'll continue to offer our customers high-quality fresh meat through our wide selection of pre-cut case-ready meats that are conveniently packaged to pick up on the go."

Bandsaws and mincers will be removed from Woolworths' remaining 50 butcher shop counters to reduce on-site meat processing.

The closures will have no effect on other Woolworths service counters, and existing seafood, deli, and bakery locations will remain open.

Woolworths will continue to source meat from the same vendors as the closed butcher shops.

Shop Distributors Association national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the union would be "working with members to assist those who elect re-deployment and to ensure all entitlements are received for those members who take redundancy".

(Via ABC News)