Woolworths (colloquially "Woolies") is an Australian chain of supermarkets and grocery stores owned by Woolworths Group. Founded in 1924, Woolworths along with Coles forms a near-duopoly of Australian supermarkets, accounting for about 80% of the Australian market.
Woolworths specialises in groceries (vegetables, fruit, meat, packaged foods, etc.) The first store was opened on 5 December 1924 in Pitt Street of Sydney's Imperial Arcade, called "Woolworths Stupendous Bargain Basement".
Following the first store there were only 29 shareholders and there was little interest to accelerate the brand's growth. However, as trading continued and shareholders brought more capital, the dividends paid by the company increased from 5% to 50% after its third year of operation.
Consumer interest in the company grew after December 1924, as more branches of the store were established across Australia. Woolworths stores began selling a variety of goods, claiming the lowest prices as well as money back guarantees. At the forefront of innovation in Australia, Woolworths stores became the first variety store in the world to install receipt printing cash register machines in 1926.
With the company and its stores running successfully, Woolworths began to experiment with expanding their grocery range – more stores began stocking fresh fruits and vegetables and a larger range of food. The first self-service store in Beverly Hills, Sydney was opened in 1955.
As Woolworths gradually focused more on groceries, the first Big W department store was opened in 1976 at Tamworth, New South Wales.
According to en.wikipedia