Since 1931, we have found ways to do better, think bigger, inspire more, care more.

1931

first Woolworths store opens

Max Sonnenberg opens the first Woolworths store in Plein Street Cape Town

1934

Second Woolworths opens in Durban

1935

Two more stores open in PORT ELIZABETH and Johannesburg

1936

Woolworths lists on the stock exchange

Shares cost 1 pound each (R2)

1947

An ongoing relationship with Marks & Spencer is forged

1952

THE OBSESSION WITH QUALITY

Woolworths expands clothing business into high-quality fashion guaranteed by technology – and supports the South African Clothing business

1960

Woolworths takes a stand against segregated entrances

1960

Always at the forefront of new ideas, Woolworths leases its first computer

1960

With quality always the driving force, Woolworths becomes the first retailer to stamp use by dates on food

1970

Woolworths sets out to revolutionise the cold chain

1970

Woolworths adds ‘sell by’ date on food products

1982

The Princess food brand is discontinued

From now on, it’s only Woolworths private label with the guarantee of quality

1983

Fashion follows suit, and all Princess labels are replaced with Woolworths private label

1986

Woolworths becomes the first SA retailer to recycle clothes hangers

This leads to the formation of Hangerman, which provides meaningful employment for physically and mentally challenged people

1987

The first Woolworths store opens in Africa in Francistown, Botswana

1990

Into the future! Woolworths gets a new till system that allows till operators to ring up purchases by scanning a barcode

1991

Woolworths launches pillow packs for lettuce – the first retailer to do so

1994

Woolworths introduces its store card

1996

The first Woolworths clothing store opens in Lesotho

1997

WOOLWORTHS MAKES IT EASY TO GIVE BACK

Making it easy for customers to give back, Woolworths teams up with MySchool. (MyVillage and MyPlanet only came into being in 2006)

1999

In a groundbreaking move, Woolworths announces that MSG and tartrazine will no longer be used, and that substantial salt and sugar reductions will be made in many existing foods products

2001

WOOLWORTHS ONLINE SHOPPING IS LAUNCHED

CALLED In The Bag

2003

SCREENING BABY CLOTHES FOR SAFETY

Woolworths is the first in South Africa to launch the screening of all our baby and children’s clothing with a metal detector to make sure nothing harmful is left behind during manufacturing

2003

RIPE & READY AVOS LAND ON THE SHELVES

After 15 long years of research and hard work, the first ripe & ready avos land on the shelves – it’s a first in the world

2003

Elizabeth Dlamini Khumalo becomes the first black woman on the Woolworths board

2004

Woolworths commits to selling free range eggs only

2004

The Woolworths Trust forges a relationship with EduPlant, an initiative run by Food & Trees for Africa, which helps schools develop sustainable food gardens using permaculture techniques

2005

Woolworths introduces shopping baskets and trolleys made from recycled plastic

2007

Woolworths PUBLICLY ANNOUNCES THE GOOD BUSINESS JOURNEY

Formalising the journey for sustainability. In a pioneering move, Woolworths launches its Good Business Journey and establishes its vision to become the most responsible retailer in the southern hemisphere

2007

Woolworths announces Staff BEE Share Ownership Scheme

EMPOWERING STAFF THROUGH BEE SHARE OWNERSHIP SCHEME

2007

Woolworths becomes world’s third largest user of organic cotton

2008

Woolworths is named International Responsible Retailer of the Year in 2008 at the World Retail Congress

2008

Woolworths becomes first SA retailer to sign WWF-SASSI Retail Charter in support of sustainable seafood

2008

Woolworths is the first South African retailer to offer clothing made from organic wool

2009

Woolworths introduces SA’s first clothing made from 100% South African cotton (from 2009)

2009

FARMING FOR THE FUTURE

Woolworths pioneers Farming for the Future, a new method of farming that encourages farmers to grow food sustainably and in harmony with nature

2009

To ensure that there ARE more fish in the sea for future generations, Woolworths launches THE Fishing for the Future programme

2009

Growing SMALL BLACK BUSINESSES

Woolworths Launches an Enterprise Development programme, to give opportunities to small, black-owned businesses

2009

Image is everything

Woolworths undergoes a complete brand refresh in collaboration with international designers Massimo Vignelli and Vince Frost. Massimo creates the new logo and typefaces – WFutura and WBodoni; Frost and his design agency overseeS the implementation

2009

Fridges against global warming: Woolworths reinvents its refrigeration using natural gases that are not harmful to the ozone

2010

Loyalty gets rewarded. Woolworths launches WRewards – the first non-points loyalty programme in SA retail that has built-in savings customers can see on their till sLip

2010

Woolworths removes azo dyes from its own brand food

2010

FROM CLOTHING WASTE TO EMPOWERMENT

A new initiative takes ownership of clothing waste and converts it in a way that empowers women

2014

THE FIRST RETAILER TO JOIN THE BETTER COTTON INITIATIVE

Woolworths is the first retailer to become a member of the Better Cotton Initiative and sets a target of 100% sustainable cotton

2015

It’s all about fashion that cares. Woolworths introduces denim made using recycled polyester

2015

Remember the Aisle of Sin? Woolworths removes sweets and chocolates from checkout aisles ahead of other local retailers

2015

A proud moment as Zyda Rylands is appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Woolworths South Africa

2016

As part of the Good Business Journey, Woolworths launches bold sustainability targets to be met by 2020

2017

Reason to celebrate: 10 years of the Good Business Journey

2017

Zyda Rylands becomes the first ever recipient of the World Retail Congress Woman of the Year award

2018

Taking a stand against hunger, Woolworths leads an industry initiative to combat food wastage in our value chain by joining forces with FOODFORWARDSA

2018

The fight against plastic: Woolworths announces its intention to achieve zero packaging waste to landfill by 2022. Also launches first plastic bag free stores

2018

Shop from your phone!

Woolworths announces in-app shopping

2020

Woolworths introduces recycled polyester in duvets and pillows. It has now been extended to board shorts, polar fleece tops and puffer jackets

2020

As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, Woolworths launches Click & Collect service to ensure the wellbeing of its customers

2020

In reaction to an ever-increasing demand for fast, efficient online shopping, Woolworths launches Dash, a same-day delivery service for extra customer convenience

2021

A WATERSHED MOMENT: THE INCLUSIVE JUSTICE INITIATIVE

As a 90-year-old brand with a history to prove its pioneering spirit, Woolworths is poised to take the lead on a whole new level with its Inclusive Justice Initiative

2021

For future generations: Woolworths announces the next set of bold sustainability targets set for 2025 and beyond

2021

Woolworths celebrates its 90th birthday

Since 1931, we have found ways to do better, think bigger, inspire more, care more.