Retail Giant Woolworths Dumps Australia Day Merchandise

Retail giant Woolworths will discontinue the sale of Australia Day merchandise in its stores in a move aimed at addressing the evolving sentiments surrounding the controversial celebration.

The decision follows last year’s announcement by Kmart to refrain from selling products related to the January 26 celebration, opting for inclusivity.

Woolworths Group, which includes Big W, affirmed its alignment with this approach. While Australia flags will still be available year-round, the company acknowledged a diminishing demand for Australia Day merchandise and a broader community conversation about the significance of January 26.

Retail giant Woolworths will discontinue the sale of Australia Day merchandise in its stores. Credit: supplied.
Retail giant Woolworths will discontinue the sale of Australia Day merchandise in its stores. Credit: supplied.

In a statement to Yahoo Australia on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Woolworths explained, “There has been a gradual decline in demand for Australia Day merchandise from our stores over recent years. At the same time, there’s been broader discussion about 26 January and what it means to different parts of the community.”

The debate surrounding Australia Day, which is also commonly referred to as Invasion Day, has intensified in recent years, with a growing call for a change in the date.

January 26 marks the arrival of Britain’s First Fleet in 1788, initiating the colonisation and oppression of Indigenous Australians.

The debate surrounding Australia Day, which is also commonly referred to as Invasion Day, has intensified in recent years, with a growing call for a change in the date. Credit: supplied.
The debate surrounding Australia Day, which is also commonly referred to as Invasion Day, has intensified in recent years, with a growing call for a change in the date. Credit: supplied.

Many Australians view the day as a sombre occasion rather than a cause for celebration.

While Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has not signalled an intent to change the date, various councils and state governments have started to abandon traditional Australia Day activities.

Last year, Kmart’s decision to forgo Australia Day products was rooted in the pursuit of inclusivity for all Australians.

Woolworths has taken an additional step by allowing its staff the flexibility to work on the Australia Day public holiday based on individual preferences. The supermarket believes it is essential for each team member to decide how they want to observe the day.

In contrast, Coles has opted to continue stocking a limited range of Australia Day products, emphasising their popularity during the summer season, particularly for events like cricket and tennis.

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