Dominant Australian retailer Woolworths is looking at launching a ‘Woolworths Local’ retail brand to convey its close relationship with Australian growers and suppliers, the North Queensland Register reports.
The company has reportedly created marketing imagery around a new ‘W Local’ label, which has can be applied throughout its supermarket stores and liquor shops.
The label is also though to be being considered for a retail banner for the company’s 600-strong network of convenience stores and petrol station.
Woolworths has registered Woolworths Local as a trademark and plans to reserve a broad category of activities for the branding, including packaging and retail operations.
It strongly echoes an approach by leading UK supermarket Sainsbury’s, which first began branding its small format stores Sainsbury’s Local in 1998.
Woolworths is gearing up for the brand to have an online presence, having registered the domain name www.woolworthslocal.com.au.
The move comes against an increasingly hostile backdrop with Woolworths and its rival retailer Coles facing resentment over their sourcing policies.
Its approach is concerning to independent supermarkets and grocers, who have traditionally marketed themselves as authentic local businesses which work to support local growers and cater to the particular needs of the local community.
Furthermore, both Woolworths and Coles have faced scrutiny over their treatment of local suppliers in the past two years and have been forced to work to maintain their public image.
Before the Australian election, the Coalition government had promise a wholesale review of competition laws, which had looked like it might target the retail duopoly.
At present, Woolworths and Coles, along with other food and grocery manufacturers, are engaged in talks to create a voluntary code that governs the relationship between the supermarkets and suppliers.
Negotiations have thus far been ongoing for nearly a year.