Woolworths was founded by Max Sonnenberg in 1931 officially opening the doors of the first store in Adderley Street, Cape Town on October 31st. His belief that success lay in providing customers with superior quality merchandise at reasonable prices has been instrumental in establishing Woolworths as one of South Africa’s leading retail chains.

Today, Woolworths is a South African retail chain that extends, through franchise partnerships, throughout Africa and into the Middle East, trading through more than 400 stores. Woolworths Holdings influence also extends to Australia with a majority share in the Australian retail chain, Country Road.

The company
Woolworths Holdings Limited is an investment holding company and one of the top 100 companies listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. Its core business focus is the provision of retail and financial services to upper and middle income groups mainly in South Africa but also in Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

It operates through the following subsidiaries:

Woolworths (Proprietary) Limited – is a respected chain of over 400 retail stores, including franchise stores, and offers a selected range of quality clothing, food, homeware, beauty and financial services (in partnership with Absa Bank) under its own brand name in South Africa, Africa and the Middle East.

Country Road Limited – is based in Australia and offers apparel and homeware in its own retail stores and through concessions in major Australian department stores. It is listed on the Australian stock exchange and operates in Australia and New Zealand.

Mission statement
We, as passionate committed retailers, understand and lead our customers through excellence and a deep knowledge of our products and services and the world we live in.

We live the Woolworths difference through our values:

Quality and style – deliver the best
Value – a simple and fair deal
Service – think customer
Innovation – discover the difference
Integrity – do what you say you will do
Energy – be passionate and deliver
Sustainability – build for a better future

Woolworths is committed to growth through responsible retail. It devotes a significant amount of its energy and resources to ensure sustainable development within the context of the changing social and environmental needs of South Africa. It produces a yearly Sustainability report separate to its Annual report and launched the Good business journey in 2007 – a five-year plan outlining the targets and commitments of the business specifically related to sustainable growth.