Woolworths debuts next generation store

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WOOLWORTHS has unveiled the first in its “next generation” of stores featuring overhauled fresh food sections and an increased health range.

The Woolworths at Warringah Mall on Sydneys Northern Beaches reopened on Thursday after a multimillion-dollar upgrade, offering a more modern and convenient shopping experience.

The supermarket says customers health will be a key focus of the new store rollouts. Loose organic fruit and vegetables will be on offer, while 26 bays in one aisle are solely dedicated to healthy eating options with a large selection of new on-trend health foods and choose your own bulk foods and nuts.

Woolworths says its popular free fruit for kids offering will also be organic, and the marketplace feel of the fruit and veg section will extend to the rest of the store.

Warringah Mall represents the largest investment to date in our store renewal program and has been designed following a great deal of time spent understanding what our local shoppers are looking for, Woolworths format development director Rob McCartney said in a statement.

The store puts health at the heart of the shopping experience, encouraging customers to make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

Other features include an expanded sushi section, dedicated butcher, in-store bakery with a cake shop, and a cheese room with a dedicated fulltime cheese expert.

Were proud to promote our fantastic local suppliers throughout the store and to celebrate well be running a month long demo program where customers can come in store and meet with suppliers, who will be showcasing and sampling their produce and products, Mr McCartney said.

At its first-quarter trading update last month, Woolworths beat analysts expectations by revealing its first sales growth in nearly two years. Woolworths total food sales were up 1.7 per cent to $9.32 billion, while comparable sales grew 0.7 per cent.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the company had made good progress on its five key priorities during the quarter and was seeing far more consistency in our trading performance in Australian food.

Customers continue to respond to the improvements we are making, with Australian food delivering its first positive comparable sales growth since Q2 2015, despite ongoing material price deflation, he said.

While we are pleased with our progress, there remains much more to do. Our trading performance over the key Christmas trading period is crucial to the financial performance of the Woolworths Group in FY17.

In August, Mr Banducci said sales at the pilot stores increased by 9 per cent and customer satisfaction scores improved. Woolworths plans to have 80 locations in the new style 20 new and 60 refreshed and 50 with front-of-store upgrades this financial year.