Woolworths chairman Gordon Cairns told the company's annual general meeting yesterday that Woolworths was getting into a position where it could compete with the e-commerce giant, which is expected to launch a full service in Australia today (24 November).
Cairns said Woolworths recognised Amazon was a "formidable competitor", and was preparing for that challenge by improving its own online and delivery services.
That included opening up to four new "dark stores", which are closed to customers and are used solely to pack and ship online home deliveries.
Woolworths already has one dark store in Mascot, Sydney, and will be opening another in Sydney and one in Melbourne early next year.
"By the end of 2018 we'll have about five dedicated dark stores to be able to deliver to customers and improve our performance," Cairns said.
He said Woolworths was improving its online fulfilment options, introducing "click and collect" to all its supermarkets. It was also trailing one-hour home delivery.
Amazon’s full-scale launch in Australia is worrying small business owners too, according to a new study.
PayPal research, based on a survey of 200 small and medium-sized business owners, showed more than a quarter were concerned about losing sales to online rivals, news.com.au reported.
“Twenty-eight per cent of businesses surveyed are stressed about online competition,” said PayPal Australia spokesman Brian McDonnell. “Amazon definitely factors into their thought processes there.”