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Woolworths No Longer Australia’s Most Trusted Brand

The position has been usurped by a household hardware chain.

Supermarket giant Woolworths has lost its position as Australia’s most trusted brand to household hardware chain Bunnings following a year of upheaval.

Woolworths slipped to second place among Australia’s most trusted companies in the 12 months to December 2023, after holding the top spot for three and a half years, according to market research firm Roy Morgan’s latest report.

Its rival, Coles, also fell from 3rd to 5th place in the ranking, while Aldi, another supermarket chain, rose one place to the 3rd position.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine cited increased distrust in corporations among the Australian population in 2023 as consumers were disappointed with profiteering behaviors, unaffordable prices, dishonesty, unethical practices, and poor privacy practices.

In contrast, Bunnings was praised for its efforts to gain consumer trust, particularly amid a challenging economic environment.

“Bunnings has harnessed many of the foundational pillars of a trusted brand including great customer service, communicating what it stands for and delivering, being an active part of the community, solving customer’s problems, and expertise and product knowledge,” Ms. Levine said.

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Toyota was the only car manufacturer to make it to the top 10 most-trusted bands, climbing one place to 7th.

In contrast, the rankings of Apple, Big W, and Australia Post remained the same during the period.

Optus continued to be Australia’s most distrusted brand after a series of incidents in the past few years that caused its reputation to plummet.

In second place was Facebook/Meta, while flag carrier Qantas dropped one place to third.

The most distrusted brand list was also occupied by other media giants and telcos, such as Telstra, News Corp, TikTok, and Twitter/X.

A Year of Upheaval

This research comes after Woolworths experienced a tumultuous year marked by fluctuating performance.

The company posted a 4.6 percent increase in net profit to $1.62 billion (US$1.04 billion) in the 2022-2023 financial year, which was higher than its previous performance.
While Woolworths attributed the profit growth to the recovery of the sector following the COVID-19 pandemic and the company’s investments in recent years, it had been accused of price-gouging by politicians and the media, prompting a number of investigations.
In January 2024, the supermarket chain made a controversial decision not to stock Australia Day products, resulting in boycott calls from the Opposition, who claimed the company had succumbed to “woke agenda.”
In February, Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci announced his resignation just days after he walked out in the middle of an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The CEO defended his company’s business practices and quit the interview halfway when he was pressed with questions about price-gouging, an allegation he rejected.

Currently, there are several investigations into the supermarket sector, one of which is headed by the Greens Party and another by the consumer watchdog.

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