Woolworths Group has released its 2023 Regional Report, with economic research quantifying the impact of its stores, supply chain and supplier relationships in regional Australia, finding it contributes almost $10 billion annually to the regional economy.

According to independent economic analysis from Mandala, almost $10 billion was injected into regional communities by Woolworths Group in F23 – made up of $2.9 billion of direct contribution and $7 billion through its partnerships with regional suppliers.

The research found that Woolworths Group supported 105,000 jobs in regional Australia, employing 47 500 team members and indirectly supporting another 57 500 jobs.

The report outlines the scale of Woolworths Group’s employment – representing around 17 per cent of all retail workers in regional Australia as well as the opportunities provided for underrepresented groups, such as youth, women and First Nations Australians.

Across all three groups, representation in Woolworths Group’s regional workforce is greater than the regional average, with the proportion of team members aged between 15-24 more than double the regional average; women 25 per cent higher than the regional average, and First Nations team members 11 per cent above the regional average.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said regional Australia had been a pivotal part of Wooloworths since the doors first opened in Ipswich in 1929.

“What we do every day in our stores across the country would not be possible without the farmers, producers, processors, wholesalers and transport partners who help us bring fresh food to millions of customers.

“We serve hundreds of Australian communities from Mount Isa to Albany and are contributing to the livability of vital agricultural centres and regional towns through food security and employment.

“One of the most rewarding parts of our presence in these communities is the role we play in youth employment, where our stores can act as a springboard from entry level jobs into meaningful and rich careers with Woolworths and other employers,” said Banducci.

In the next five years, Woolworths Group is expected to invest more than $330 million in 29 projects in regional Australia, including updating existing stores and developing new retail spaces which also provide co-location opportunities for other retailers.

This investment pipeline in regional locations represents around 21 per cent of the entire retail sector’s forecast total capital expenditure Australia-wide, and is expected to generate more than 1800 jobs in construction.

More than 750 of these construction jobs will be in regional Victoria and around 560 will be located in regional Queensland as Woolworths works to deliver the infrastructure to continue serving growing regional communities.

Some further key figures from the 2023 Woolworths Group Regional Report included:

  • 831m kg or $3.6b fruit and veg purchased from Australian growers;
  • 485m L of Australian fresh milk sold;
  • 144m kg Australian beef purchased;
  • 37m kg Australian lamb purchased;
  • 55m kg Australian pork purchased;
  • 171m kg Australian chicken purchased;
  • $2b+ Australian red meat purchased;
  • 1.1b Australian eggs sold; and
  • $429m Australian seafood sold.

The full 2023 Woolworths Group Regional Report is available here, providing additional insights on regional contribution produce volume and purchases, and case studies on its role in responding to natural disasters.

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