A Woolworths has been converted into a Metro store despite concerns that inflated prices and fewer home brand options will ‘further alienate people on low incomes’.
In Sydney‘s inner south, locals in Alexandria have demanded answers from the supermarket giant after the store was converted despite customer backlash.
The Metro stores specialise in ready-made meals, grab-and-go snacks and other goods.
The Alexandria Residents Action Group (ARAG) held a community meeting last week attended by Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore and Director of Metro Justin Nolan.
Alexandria local and ARAG member Ofir Zeevi said Woolworths Metro stores had been associated with some troubling patterns in the past.
‘We’ve seen concerns with metro supermarkets trending towards higher prices, more plastic packaging and increasing range in gourmet products while removing cheaper offerings,’ they told Yahoo.
‘Our residents made it clear to Woolworths that they are not asking for this change, especially given the many years it took to get a full-size local supermarket opened in the area to begin with.’
Locals in Alexandria, in Sydney ‘s inner south, have demanded answers from the supermarket giant after the full-size supermarket (pictured) was converted to a Metro
Residents said they were concerned the Metro store wouldn’t stock as much fresh produce or cheaper home brands as a full-size supermarket does
Ms Moore said the closest full-size supermarket was now located in Mascot or Marrickville, which raised accessibility concerns for elderly shoppers and those without cars.
In a letter to Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci, the mayor wrote that low-income residents could be impacted by a reduced range of home brands and fresh produce.
‘In the current cost of living crisis, I am concerned that replacing a supermarket with a store selling more pre-made meals, rather than a wide range of own brands and fresh food, will directly impact already growing levels of food insecurity,’ she wrote.
A Metro spokesperson has confirmed the supermarket has been converted to a Metro store with no change to the ‘size or footprint of the store’.
They said the shelf price will remain the same, with customers able to scan a QR code to request products that were removed during the transition.
‘In some smaller supermarkets where we cannot easily expand the store, Metro conversions allow us to tailor the local range by introducing new product lines that are based on what the local community wants,’ the spokesperson said.
The number of ‘general merchandise’ products like batteries, light globes and stationary had been reduced where sales had been lower.
‘There’s no one size fits all format for our Metro stores and this gives us the flexibility to ensure we have the right products customers want and respond quickly if there’s something they would like to see in store,’ the spokesman said.
‘We’ve been then able to reuse this shelf space to put in more products that meet our customer needs, generally increasing the range in food.
‘An example in Alexandria is a significant increase in our Asian food range which has been requested by the local customer base.’
The ‘Picked By You’ program will allow shoppers to request an item be restocked by scanning the QR code in store and sharing its details.
A community information session was held at the store on Saturday.
A Woolworths spokesman has confirmed the full-size supermarket in Alexandria has been converted to a Metro store with no change to the ‘size or footprint of the store’
Woolworths’ end of 2023 financial year report revealed sales at Metro stores have jumped by 21.6 per cent while sales at full-size supermarkets have only increased by 4.7 per cent
Woolworths’ end of 2023 financial year report revealed sales at Metro stores have jumped by 21.6 per cent while sales at full-size supermarkets have only increased by 4.7 per cent. Metro sales made up 2.5 per cent of Woolworths’ total revenue.
The Woolworths Group, which includes supermarkets and discount store Big W, recorded a $1.62billion profit in the year to June, up 4.6 per cent from $1.5billion based on total operations.
The company behind 995 supermarkets acknowledged this occurred as customers battled a cost of living crisis during fiscal year 2023.
‘While the overall operating environment for the Group improved in F23 compared to previous years, global and local inflationary impacts have created a new challenge as our customers’ household budgets become increasingly stretched,’ it said.
Revenue increased 5.7 per cent to $64.3 billion for the year to June 25.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk