/ 22 February 2024

Banducci hits the checkout

WooliesOpening2

The Squiz

As the fallout from Monday night’s ABC’s Four Corners exposé on Australia’s 2 biggest supermarkets and their alleged price gouging tactics continues, Woolworths Group boss Brad Banducci will retire early. The clip of him walking out of the interview is quite a thing, but the retail giant is “emphatic” that the program had nothing to do with his departure, with his replacement, Amanda Bardwell, also announced yesterday after an extensive international search. As Woolies announced its half-year profit yesterday, he said it’s his intention to “retire, not resign” in September after 8 years there.

So what did the results show?

The company posted a $781 million loss for the July-December half, mainly due to its struggling Kiwi supermarket chain Countdown. However, the company reported a 2.5% rise in underlying profits following a 5% increase in food sales and a 0.24% rise in its profit margin, which added $60 million to the bottom line. That didn’t impress investors, and Woolies’ share price fell 6.6% in response – about $3 billion wipes from its value. When Banducci does step down, reports say he’ll leave with $24 million in Woolies shares (which generated some less than sympathetic reactions…), and Bardwell will start on a base salary of $2.15 million plus bonuses. That’s a lotta lettuce…

Nice work if you can get it…

True, but for those of us not earning squillions, there was some good news yesterday as the Bureau of Stats revealed that wages rose by 4.2% – 0.1% more than the annual inflation rate. It’s the first time in nearly 3 years that’s happened… This first real wage increase since 2021 was also the highest annual salary jump in almost 14 years. The ABS attributed the increase to “organisation-wide annual wage and salary reviews” and a “higher contribution from jobs covered by enterprise agreements” in the December quarter. Public servants did well with a 1.5% jump from September following new pay deals for essential workers like nurses, which might help to dodge those supermarket checkout blues

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