Woolworths Food Group (Woolworths) has announced plans to invest more than $650 million in new stores and infrastructure and add more than 2,000 staff to their team in Victoria over the next three years. This is the biggest single investment in the retailer’s history.
Woolworths plan to open at least 20 new stores and refurbish 40 existing stores in Victoria, investing around $150 million. This will create more than 2,000 ongoing retail jobs as well as supporting 1,000 construction jobs during development. This adds to the 582 stores they currently have in Victoria, employing more than 45,000 people.
To support this growth, Woolworths is also investing in $500 million of new infrastructure. This includes a new meat processing facility in Laverton, which is soon to open, and new distribution centre to be built in south-east Melbourne, which will open in 2018.
Together, the two projects will support more than 510 ongoing full time jobs. This is on top of the 600 jobs that will be created during the construction of a new distribution centre and more than 400 jobs that were created during the construction of the meat processing facility.
Pat McEntee, Director of Supermarket Operations, said: “These investments in new infrastructure will help us to deliver lower prices and a better offer to our customers.
“The new $150 million meat processing facility will improve our fresh meat offering throughout all our stores in Victoria. Our customers can expect to see more consistent, better quality meat, enhanced availability on our shelves as well as new and seasonal ranges following this transition.
“This change to our fresh meat supply will also see changes in our stores in coming weeks. We will be building more butcher shops and our qualified butchers will be on hand to cut meat specifically to suit the customers’ preference and give advice on preparation and cooking.
“We also have plans to build a $350 million state-of-the-art grocery distribution centre in south-east Melbourne, delivering more than 190 new jobs to the area when it opens in 2018.
“This is the largest single investment in Woolworths’ history and we are confident it will deliver significant efficiency and productivity gains.
“The facility will eventually replace Woolworths’ existing distribution centre in Hume, Victoria. Our Hume staff will be assisted over the next three years to work through what options are available and best suited to them.
“Both investments will require us to make changes to our existing network. As Woolworths changes some existing roles will be discontinued and we will ensure where possible our staff have access to new opportunities.
“Woolworths is proud of our commitment to ongoing investment and jobs in Victoria. Our continued growth not only creates jobs and opportunities across the community, it also helps us to keep prices low and continue to improve our offer to customers,” McEntee said.