Woolworths’ progress on removal of confectionery from checkout

Woolworths today has announced the completion of the first phase of replacing sweets and chocolates with better snacking options at the checkout aisles of 104 stores.

This includes a number of medium and small stores, as well as new and large format stores, as per its statement released in August. These stores represent 50% of total Woolworths sweets and chocolate sales and include Canal Walk, Constantia, Sandton, Tygervalley, Gateway, Hazeldean, and Eastgate stores, to name a few.

“The progress made to date is ahead of where we planned to be at this stage of our roll-out,” says Spencer Sonn, MD of Foods at Woolworths. “This is a huge transformation for our business and demonstrates our commitment to our Good Food Journey, by providing healthier options for children and parents at the checkout aisles.

“We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to our initial announcement and we are thrilled to be able to update our customers on the next phase of our programme.”

As part of the initial announcement, Woolworths committed to engage with customers on what alternative snack options they would like to see in the checkout aisles. Based on customer feedback and initial research groups, the sweets and chocolates have been replaced with options such as dried fruit, biltong, and nuts.

Woolworths will continue to engage with customers to evaluate the alternatives that are placed in the checkout aisles going forward.

A change of this magnitude is not without its challenges, notes Sonn. “The learnings gathered thus far will influence the next phase of the rollout and help Woolworths on this journey of relocating sweets and chocolates away from the checkout aisles and into the food market.”

As the next step in this journey, Woolworths plans to implement the change in an additional 62 stores in South Africa and Africa by the end of June next year, representing 70% of total Woolworths sweets and chocolate sales and 50% of all stores.

This means that 166 stores will have sweets and chocolates removed from checkout aisles by June 2016, with the remaining stores to be completed in a phased approach over the course of 2016/2017.

Sweets and chocolates will continue to be available in stores, located in areas where customers have the choice to shop rather than at the checkouts.

“We are very pleased with the progress we’ve made and that many of our customers shopping in our stores will experience better snack choices at our checkout aisles when they are doing their Christmas shopping this year,” concludes Sonn.