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about us

History

Countdown's come a long way.

2009 - December 2009 >>
2008 - December 2009 >>
2006 - December 2006 >>
2005 - December 2005 >>
2004 - December 2004 >>
2003 - December 2003 >>
2002 - December 2002 >>

1995 - December 1995 >>
1993 - December 1993 >>
1992 - December 1992 >>
1990 - December 1990 >>
1985 - December 1985 >>
1981 - December 1981 >>

 
 

2009 - 31 December 2009

 

In September, we announced plans to move to a single brand - new generation Countdown. Over the next five years, all Woolworths and Foodtown stores will be converted to Countdowns. And all new stores will be Countdowns.

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2008 - 31 December 2009

 

In July, Progressive converted the landmark Foodtown Greenlane to the first 'New Generation' Countdown.  It offered all the benefits of a Countdown, plus even greater range, quality and service, and a much larger Fresh section!


Progressive also extended the successful Onecard programme into our Countdown stores, complementing the ongoing success of Onecard in Woolworths and Foodtown.

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2006 - 31 December 2006

 

In October, Progressive launched the Grocery Fuel Discount programme throughout its three brands Countdown, Woolworths and  Foodtown. The initiative was unprecedented in New Zealand, with 153 participating supermarkets and more than 250 service stations.

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2005 - 31 December 2005

 

Woolworths Ltd, Australasia's leading retailer, purchased Progressive Enterprises from Foodland Associated (FAL) of Perth.

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2004 - 31 December 2004

 

The Price Chopper brand, which launched in 1987, ceased to operate within New Zealand. The stores were converted to Woolworths or Countdown supermarkets, delivered an even better customer experience.

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2003 - 31 December 2003

 

In May the Foodtown Woolworths Onecard was launched. This innovative programme centred on a card called the Onecard, similar to the successful Foodtown card introduced in 1994, but with additional benefits.


The Big Fresh brand which was launched in 1988 in Mt Wellington was converted to Countdowns and Woolworths stores.

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2002 - 31 December 2002

 

On 17 June, Progressive Enterprises Ltd bought Woolworths (NZ) from Hong Kong based owners Dairy Farm Group. The sale saw Progressive's supermarket brands Foodtown, Countdown, SuperValue and Fresh Choice joined by Woolworths, Big Fresh and Price Chopper. As a result Progressive Enterprises increased its share of the NZ grocery market.

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1995 - 31 December 1995

 

Woolworths was one of the first players in New Zealand's online shopping market. Set up initially as a pilot site with just a small group of users, Woolworths.co.nz and later, Foodtown.co.nz have gone from strength to strength. Even now Woolworths.co.nz and Foodtown.co.nz are still the only online grocery site in New Zealand, helping people across the country purchase their groceries at the click of a button.

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1993 - 31 December 1993

 

The Countdown/Rattrays, and Foodtown businesses were all brought together under the Progressive Enterprises umbrella. Both Countdown/ Rattrays and the Foodtown groups continued to run as separate business units with Countdown/ Rattrays continuing to function from a South Island base.

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1992 - 31 December 1992

 

In 1992 Foodland Associated (FAL) from Perth, Western Australia, purchased the Countdown/Rattrays business. This acquisition was followed by gaining a majority shareholding in Progressive Enterprises, including General Distributors, trading as Foodtown.

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1990 - 31 December 1990

 

Woolworths sold to DFI, a Hong Kong based supermarket retailer with interests in the Asia Pacific region including Franklins in Australia.


Legislation  was passed allowing wine sales in supermarkets. The Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act opened the way for Sunday trading, with the exception of alcohol.

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1985 - 31 December 1985

 

Barcode scanning was introduced to make shopping quicker and easier.

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1981 - 31 December 1981

 

In May, the first Countdown supermarket opened in Northlands, Christchurch. This business was established by Rattrays Wholesale and gained momentum through the 1980s. The Rattrays Wholesale Group included the Rattrays Cash and Carry warehouses, tobacco vans, now known as the Red Arrow Distributors fleet, and the SuperValue group of franchised supermarkets, now operating as SuperValue/Fresh Choice.

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