Woolworths to open ‘dark stores’

WOOLWORTHS will open as many as four new so-called "dark stores" - which are closed to customers and are used solely to pack and ship online orders - as the supermarket giant prepares to battle Amazon.

Chairman Gordon Cairns told the company's annual general meeting on Thursday the stores would be open by the end of next year.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci with chairman Gordon Cairns during their AGM in Melbourne. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian
Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci with chairman Gordon Cairns during their AGM in Melbourne. Picture: Aaron Francis/The Australian

He issued a warning for suppliers that they risked "cutting their own throat" by selling their products to Amazon.

"If they go onto Amazon, then Amazon cuts the prices substantially," Mr Cairns said. "What that forces other retailers to do is to reflect on whether they should be stocking the brand if they can't do it and make money.

"They can end up cutting their own throat. Before they step into the breach, they should perhaps consider what the long-term ramifications are," he said.

Amazon's highly anticipated Australian launch on Friday could ignite a pre-Christmas price war for consumers.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci speaks at today’s AGM in Melbourne.
Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci speaks at today’s AGM in Melbourne.

The international retail giant prepared for its official Black Friday launch on Thursday, following an invitation-only "soft launch" in Australia.

Woolworths is stepping up its war on Amazon.
Woolworths is stepping up its war on Amazon.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the company would monitor Amazon's prices on products that Woolworths also sells.

"We track pricing against all of our competitors… making sure our customers get a good deal every time they shop at Woolworths, so it'll be part of our price tracking no doubt," Mr Banducci said.



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