Woolworths Australia plans continued expansion
Australian supermarket retailer Woolworths says that it is well placed to weather the economic downturn and that it expects to open more stores and create new jobs. Chief Executive Michael Luscombe said that even if the national unemployment rate were to hit 6%, the company would continue to expand. Luscombe said on a Sky News programme in Australia: “We think that in our space, which is [selling] the basics of life - food and basic commodities - that we are somewhat immunised from what may happen there [to the unemployment rate]. Our aim is actually to create more jobs. And, of course, our existing businesses are still running very strongly, and we intend to do everything possible to hang on to every single job that we've got, plus create several thousand new ones. Every time that we open a new store, we typically put on about 200 new people and that whenever we build a store, it is filled with about AUD1 million (USD823,000) of stock which benefits the company’s suppliers.” However, he did say that their Big W general merchandise stores were trading strongly even though apparel sales had been tough. Luscombe said it was too early to tell what the impact had been of the federal government's AUD10.4 billion (USD8.56 billion) stimulus package for pensioners and families.
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