Our history

Countdown sponsors the 2016 New Zealand Olympic Team

Countdown is proud to be a major sponsor of the New Zealand Olympic team as they take on the world at the Rio Olympic Games in August 2016. To further support our New Zealand team we have two Brand Ambassadors, rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray – a rare Kiwi pair!

2016

Countdown launches NZ's first online Foodbank

In partnership with The Salvation Army, Countdown launched New Zealand's first ever online food bank, The Foodbank Project. The project started as a trial in Auckland, and by December the trail was a success and rolled out nationally. To find out more or to get donating click here.

2015

Award winning myCountdown

Countdown's supercharges mySpecials to become the award winning myCountdown programme of personalised communications. Each week customers receive a hyper-personalised email and web experience highlighting products, specials, recipes and promotions just for them.

2014

Onecard Visa introduced

Countdown launches the Onecard Visa together with Latitude Financial Services Limited – a combined Onecard and credit card offering further rewards and savings benefits for customers.

2013

Countdown introduces Price Lockdown

Countdown steps up its commitment to bringing grocery prices down with the introduction of price lockdown saving New Zealanders $70 million in its first year.

2013

First Countdown Pharmacy opens

In December, Countdown launched their first Countdown Pharmacy in-store at Countdown Newtown. Countdown Pharmacy gives you all the services you expect from a professional Pharmacy, at competitive prices.

2012

Countdown introduces award winning Smartphone App

2012

End of an era

In November 2011, the last Foodtown and Woolworths stores were updated to new generation Countdown supermarkets.

2011

Food Rescue programme launched

In 2011, Countdown's Food Rescue programme was launched in partnership with The Salvation Army to supply food to families in need.

2011

Countdown introduces award winning mySpecials

2009

First "New Generation" Countdown opens

In July 2008, Progressive converted the landmark Greenlane Foodtown to the first 'New Generation' Countdown. This store continued the Countdown tradition of low prices in a modern store environment, with a wider range of products and a greater area devoted to fresh foods.

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

2008

Countdown establishes Kids Hospital Appeal

The annual appeal has raised $9.3 million since it first began in 2007.

2007

Fuel discount programme introduced

In October 2006, 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.

2006

Woolworths purchases Progressive Enterprises

Australian company Woolworths Ltd purchased Progressive Enterprises from Foodland Associated (FAL) of Perth.

2005-2009

Onecard introduced

The Foodtown Woolworths Onecard was launched in May 2003. This innovative programme centred on an all in one savings card, called the Onecard. This was similar to the successful Foodtown card introduced in 1994, but with additional rewards benefits.

2003

Progressive Enterprises buys Woolworths (NZ)

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 FreshChoice joined by Woolworths, Big Fresh and Price Chopper. As a result Progressive Enterprises increased its share of the NZ grocery market.

2002

Woolworths introduces online shopping

The early days of online shopping began as the service was introduced via a pilot site with a small group of users. Woolworths was a key player in working with the banking industry to ensure they met market demands for doing business over the Internet.

1996

Countdown & Foodtown come together

In 1993, the Countdown/Rattrays, and Foodtown businesses were all brought together under Progressive Enterprises. 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.

1993

First Countdown store opens

In May 1981, the first Countdown supermarket opened in Northlands, Christchurch. This business was established by Rattrays Wholesale which was part of The Rattrays Wholesale Group, and also included the SuperValue group of franchised supermarkets, now operating as SuperValue/Fresh Choice.

1981

First Foodtown store opens

The first Foodtown supermarket was opened in the Auckland suburb of Otahuhu in 1958.

1958

First Woolworths store opens

The first Woolworths store was opened in Cuba Street, Wellington, owned by Woolworths Australia.

1929