Woolworths closing 250 instore butchers, with only 50 to remain nationwide

| 21.01,23. 04:22 AM |

Woolworths closing 250 instore butchers, with only 50 to remain nationwide

Dry conditions could push beef prices higher
A total of 420 butchers and 69 fellow workers will be offered redundancies. (Lee Jae-Won: Reuters)

Woolworths has announced it will close 250 of its butcher shops within its supermarkets around Australia, citing rising customer demand for pre-packaged meats.

A total of 489 jobs will be made redundant when the 250 butcher counters close in March, including 420 trade qualified butchers and 69 non-trade workers.

Woolworths' decision to cut the majority of its in-store butcher shops follows Coles's closure of in-store butchers in 2021.

In a statement released on Friday, Woolworths said only 50 butcher shops would remain past March of the estimated 300 instore butchers currently in operation nationwide. Woolworths estimates it has up to 1,000 supermarkets currently in operation.

"We've recently conducted a review into our instore butcher shops and found that they account for just 4 per cent of meat sales as customers continue to move towards our more convenient pre-packaged options," the statement read.

"We've made the difficult decision to close the majority of our remaining butcher counters over the coming months, with the exception of 50 stores where they are supported by the necessary customer demand.

"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.

"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."

In Woolworths' 50 remaining butcher shop counters, bandsaws and mincers will be removed to reduce the amount of on-site processing of meats.

Other Woolworths service counters will not be impacted by the closures, with current seafood, deli and bakery stores to remain open.  

Meat at Woolworths stores will continue to be sourced from the same suppliers as the closing butcher shops.

Shop Distributors Association national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the union would be "working with members to assist those who elect re-deployment and to ensure all entitlements are received for those members who take redundancy".

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