Woolworths will close down the majority of its in-store butcheries, jeopardising hundreds of jobs in the process.
The decision will impact a total of 489 staff members when Woolworths closes 250 of its 300 in-store butcheries by the end of March, a spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia.
“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," the spokesperson said.
Woolworths have vowed to help impacted staff members by offering redeployment opportunities to those interested or post-employment services free of charge.
Why butcheries got the chop
The supermarket believes the closures will have minimal impact on its customers with meat sales from its in-store butcheries declining in recent years.
The decision comes after Woolworths conducted a review on their in-store butcheries and found that only 10 per cent of customers purchased meat over the counter when the service was available to them, highlighting a shift in customer preference towards pre-packaged meat products.
Woolworths assured Yahoo News Australia that their pre-packaged range is "sourced from the same suppliers" as the meat from the butcheries, so quality will not be compromised.
“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,” the spokesperson continued.
Only 50 butcheries had sufficient demand to justify keeping them open and these services will be streamlined moving forward in a cost-cutting exercise for the supermarket giant.
Rival supermarket Coles made a similar move at the end of 2021, with the supermarket closing all of their in-store butcheries.
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