Woolworths dumps Australia Day merchandise from all stores, cites ‘gradual decline’ in demand
Woolworths has confirmed its Australia Day merchandise has been dumped from stores, including Big W, across the country.
Blake Antrobus, January 10, The Mercury
Woolies had confirmed its Australia Day merchandise has been dumped from stores across the nation and will no longer be sold.
A Woolworths Group spokesperson confirmed there would be no additional Australia Day-themed merchandise sold across its supermarket or BIG W stores for the 2024 public holiday.
They cited a “gradual decline” in demand for the merchandise over the years and “broader discussion” about the January 26 date and “what it means” to different parts of the community.
“While Australian flags are sold within BIG W all year round, we don’t have any additional themed merchandise available to purchase in-store in our Supermarkets or BIG W ahead of Australia Day,” the spokesperson said.
“We know many people like to use this day as a time to get together and we offer a huge variety of products to help customers mark the day as they choose.”
“Woolworths and BIG W celebrate the best of Australia every day, and we’re proud to support the farmers, producers, and suppliers who work with us.”
While no additional Australia-themed merchandise is available in the Group’s physical stores, the Woolworths Group-affiliated outlet My Deal continues to sell some products online through third-party sellers.
Staff at stores will have the choice to work on the public holiday if they are rostered on, after the policy created some confusion last year.
All teams in support offices will take the public holiday.
The sudden move follows a broader pushback against the controversial January 26 date, with many arguing it is not inclusive to Indigenous Australians.
At least 81 councils have moved the dates of their traditional citizenship ceremonies away from the January 26 date following a change in legislation in December 2022.
The Federal Government that year revoked a rule forcing local councils across the country to host the ceremonies on Australia Day, effectively leaving it up to councils when they would take place.
Kmart last year confirmed they no longer stocked Australia Day-specific products to ensure it is “inclusive and respectful” to all.
They pointed to products sold over the year featuring Australiana-themed designs, including animals, flora and educational materials.
Coles has confirmed it will stock a small range of themed merchandise through the month.
“We are stocking a small range of Australian-themed summer entertaining merchandise throughout January which is popular with our customers for sporting events such as the cricket and tennis, as well as for the Australia Day weekend,” a spokesman said.
Originally published as Woolworths dumps Australia Day merchandise from all stores, cites ‘gradual decline’ in demand