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Woolworths workers reveal exactly when to score biggest markdowns

Woolworths insiders have revealed the secret to snagging big savings on your next shop. Responding to a question about supermarket discounts on Reddit, current and former Woolies employees shared their first-hand knowledge of the supermarket chain's markdown practices.

A Redditor began the thread by saying he'd seen photos of products that staffers had marked down seemingly more than usual just for themselves, but was never able to find the same low prices. "Can you guys just price it as whatever you want for yourselves?" he asked.

A former Woolworths worker was happy to oblige, sharing a detailed explanation of markdown practices from his own experience in the fresh produce section.

Marked down meat at Woolworths
A Reddit user who asked if markdowns like this are available to regular supermarket customers received a welcome response from Woolworths workers. Souce: Facebook

"We had a guide to follow that started at 5% off then every hour we were meant to reduce by a further 5% till it was 50% off," the insider commented. "Then if it didn't sell after the next hour throw it out. But I didn't have enough time to f**k around with stickers every hour. We went a standard 50% off straight off the bat and if we needed to clear something, went up to 90% off, but officially weren't allowed past 50% without management permission."

Best time for bargains

Current Woolworths employees then went on to reveal the best time to shop: at night after the late afternoon/early evening rush. "For Woolies where I work, there's usually a few stages of markdowns," one staff member explained. "On meat and dairy stuff, it usually happens twice a night depending on how close the expiration is... Usually if you want cheaper stuff, go in around 7pm and there will be some."

Another employee confirmed this, saying team members are given more discretion to mark things down at night. "Current Woolies worker here: Chilled and meat 2pm to 4pm: first markdown for 1 and 2 days out. Percentage off is generated by stock on hand and how many days out," he explained. "Usually from 6pm onward for same-day sale, a further markdown can be applied, at our discretion, up to 80%."

Woman shopping at Woolworths
Woolworths employees say the best time to grab big markdowns is after 6pm. Source: Getty (Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images)

Woolworths responds

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News the retailer has committed to zero food waste by 2025 and the availability of markdowns will vary from day to day and store to store, based on stock levels and demand.

"Like all food retailers, we work hard to minimise waste by ordering the right level of stock to meet customer demand," the spokesperson said. "From time to time, we do find ourselves with excess stock, which is why we have markdown processes and food diversion partnerships in every store to avoid sending food to landfill.

"Surplus food is donated to our food rescue partners OzHarvest, FoodBank and FareShare, along with local farmers and more, to be put to good use. In the past year, the equivalent of millions of meals have been donated to our food rescue partners and many tonnes of surplus food was donated to hunger relief partners, local farmers, zoos, wildlife carers and commercial composters."

Best time for Coles markdowns

A spokesperson for rival Coles previously told Yahoo News that there isn't a set time to find heavily discounted items in their supermarkets. "Markdowns do not uniformly take place at the same time across all stores," they explained. "There are many things that can impact when this takes place including stock on hand, delivery schedules and team member rostering."

"We know our customers love good value so when a product is near its best before date, we often mark it down so it can be enjoyed for a cheaper price, instead of being wasted," added the spokesperson, who also said that "food safety is paramount" to Coles, which is why the retailer encourages all customers to be mindful of use-by and best before dates.

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