Our history


Countdown is proud to have gained the Rainbow Tick in recognition of our commitment to LGBTI inclusion.


Single-use plastic carrier bag free

In October, all Countdown stores went single-use plastic carrier bag free at checkouts and through online shopping, removing on average 350 million plastic bags per year.


Progressive Enterprises Limited changes name

In June 2018, Progressive Enterprises Limited changed its name to Woolworths New Zealand.


Countdown to phase out single-use plastic carrier bags

Countdown was the first supermarket in New Zealand to announce all stores nationwide will phase out single-use plastic carrier bags at checkouts and online shopping by the end of 2018.


Countdown commits to cage-free

Countdown is the first national retailer to announce it will go cage-free in its on-shelf eggs for customers. Countdown’s goal is to have 100 percent cage-free eggs by the end of 2024 in the North Island and the end of 2025 in the South Island.



Onecard relaunched, including a partnership with AA Smartfuel, allowing customers to choose to be rewarded with AA Smartfuel discounts or Onecard points at Countdown.


Countdown online shopping celebrates 20 years

Countdown online shopping rolled out the Click & Collect service across all stores nationwide and also celebrated 20 years of delivering groceries to Kiwis.


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!


‘Free Fruit For Kids’ launches

Countdown launches a New Zealand -first: 'Free Fruit for Kids', giving kids a free and nutritious snack to munch on while their parents or caregivers shop. Countdown gives away an estimated 50,000 pieces of free fruit to kids across the country every week.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Countdown introduces award winning Smartphone App


End of an era

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


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.


Countdown introduces award winning mySpecials


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.


Countdown establishes Kids Hospital Appeal

The annual Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal has raised $9.3 million since it first began in 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.


Woolworths purchases Woolworths New Zealand

Australian company Woolworths Ltd purchased Woolworths New Zealand from Foodland Associated (FAL) of Perth.


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.


Woolworths New Zealand buys Woolworths (NZ)

Woolworths New Zealand Limited 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 Woolworths New Zealand increased its share of the NZ grocery market.


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.


Countdown & Foodtown come together

In 1993, the Countdown/Rattrays, and Foodtown businesses were all brought together under Woolworths New Zealand. 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.


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.


First Foodtown store opens

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


First Woolworths store opens

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