Woolworths to scrap Woolworths Dollars in rewards program revamp, leaked document shows

Woolworths Reward Card. Photo: Delyse Phillips A leaked copy of a Woolworths Rewards Support Guide sent to store managers. Photo: Supplied

Woolworths customers have complained about the current loyalty scheme, saying it is too hard to earn Woolworths Dollars. Photo: Brendon Thorne

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Orange tickets begone? Woolworths appears set to relaunch its rewards program and scrap the “Woolworths Dollars” feature that has confused and frustrated shoppers for the past 10 months.

A leaked, confidential document sent to Woolworths store managers around the country and seen by Fairfax Media, indicates customers will no longer have to buy hard-to-find, orange-ticketed products to earn “Woolworths Dollars”.

From Wednesday, August 31, customers will be able to earn one point for every $1 spent at Woolworths supermarkets as well as Caltex petrol stations and BWS liquor stores, it says.

There’s more news in the document for Qantas frequent flyer point collectors, who successfully fought for Woolworths to reverse its decision to cut ties with the airline.

Under the yet-to-be-launched scheme, members can convert 2000 points into $10 Woolworths Rewards dollars, which can be traded in for 870 Qantas frequent flyer points.

They can also use $10 Woolworths Rewards dollars to instantly shave $10 off their grocery bill at the checkout.

“We’ve been listening closely to customer feedback about how we can improve Woolworths Rewards,” the confidential “support guide” document reads.

“We’re making significant improvements to the program and with your help, we know we can win the hearts and minds of our loyal customers!”

David Flynn, editor of Australian Business Travellerwhich broke the story, said the new scheme wasn’t all good news.

“Unfortunately, under the new scheme it’ll cost almost twice as much to earn the same number of Qantas Points compared to the long-running program which Woolworths axed in December 2015,” he said.

“You’ll need to spend around $2000 to earn 870 Qantas Points, and you’ll need 16,000 points for a return economy ticket between Sydney and Melbourne. So if you want to spend almost $40,000 on groceries to get a free flight, go right ahead.”

The current Woolworths Rewards program was launched in October 2015. The general response has been lacklustre, with thousands of customers hitting the phones to complain it was too hard to earn Woolworths dollars, which amount to deductions on future shops.

One influential supplier said the cost of the present scheme did not stack up next to the cost of regular promotions, and as a result he did not participate.

Adam Posner, chief executive of strategic loyalty consultancy Directivity, said Woolworths’ initial decision to remove Qantas frequent flyer points was a “big error”.

“Also, the program was too complicated with different stickers for different specials and orange stickers for the program and products that rewards were being allocated to were far too few and so many members were spending a lot for little or no rewards,” he said.

“The power of social media also knocked them about, as once members felt they were not getting any rewards for their spend, the noise became very loud.”

His latest research found changes in program structures, such as Woolworths’ one, was the second biggest reason for defection after not earning rewards fast enough.

The research shows Coles’ flybuys program retained first place in the top 10 unprompted most mentioned programs as “doing a very good job”, at 36 per cent, increasing its lead over the Woolworths scheme, at 9 per cent.

Qantas Frequent Flyer remained in third place since the first study in 2013.

A separate survey of 2300 supermarket shoppers by research firm Canstar in June found the average spend per visit was $133.

“This was consistent across each state. Based on a spend of $133, Woolworths’ original Everyday Rewards program would have returned 103 frequent Flyer points,” said Canstar’s Justine Davies.

“Under the new system, a $133 spend would return 58 Frequent Flyer points.”

The leaked document says Woolworths intends to kickstart the new scheme with a series of “double point” offers between the launch date and December, starting with fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat and behind-the-counter deli and seafood.

Customers will earn points in Caltex Woolworths service stations, but not at Star Mart and Star Shop, it says.

“This is on top of the 4 cents per litre fuel discount they receive when they spend $30 or more in a supermarket,” the document reads.

“There is no action or negative impact for members – all Woolworths Dollars will be automatically transferred to points on the 31st August 2016.”

A Woolworths spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm or deny the details in the leaked document.

“We won’t comment on speculation but we have said for some time that we would make improvements to the program and include a partnership with Qantas,” she said.

“We look forward to unveiling the details soon.” This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

Mamak fined almost $300,000 for short-changing workers

The operators of Mamak have been fined almost $300,000 for under-paying staff. Photo: Jennifer Soo An Ombudsman investigation found six employees at the popular inner Sydney restaurant were collectively underpaid more than $87,000. Photo: Supplied

Mamak attracts large crowds, but has not escaped the attention of the Fair Work Ombudsman. Photo: Supplied

People queuing up to enter Mamak restaurant in Haymarket. Photo: James Brickwood

The operators of Mamak Malaysian restaurant in Haymarket have been fined almost $300,000 for paying workers as little as $11 an hour.

Federal Circuit Court Judge Justin Smith found the Goulburn Street restaurant had deliberately ignored its workplace obligations “to maximise profit”.

The Fair Work Ombudsman took legal action against the popular inner Sydney restaurant which relied on informal market research to set wages.

An Ombudsman investigation found six employees, including five visa holders from non-English speaking backgrounds, were collectively underpaid more than $87,000. They were paid as little as $11 an hour between February 2012 and April 2015.

Restaurant owner-operators Joon Hoe Lee, Julian Lee and Alan Wing-Keung Au were each fined around $36,000. Their company Mamak Pty Ltd was penalised $184,960.

Judge Smith on Friday found the underpayments came from informal research based on what other restaurants were paying staff.

“They discovered that there were three approaches – the first were the star-rated restaurants which paid according to the Award, the second were medium restaurants that followed the Award half the time and the third included small restaurants that just paid illegal rates,” Judge Smith said.

“Mamak took the third approach. The fact that there are many restaurants in the industry that do not comply with their legal obligations does not exculpate the respondents in any way.”

Judge Smith said the restaurant deliberately chose to ignore salary award rates to maximise profit.

“That approach, of course, was taken at the cost of the employees, who in reality, funded the success of the business,” he said.

“Not only did the respondents know that the employees were being paid less than their legal entitlements, but they also knew that their records were not kept in accordance with the law.”

The Haymarket restaurant and Mamak Malaysian restaurants in Chatswood and the Melbourne CBD and a food preparation factory at Marrickville will be audited until the end of the year.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said researching “black market wage rates in an industry is not the way to determine how to pay your staff”.

“Minimum wage rates apply to everyone in Australia – including visa holders – and they are not negotiable,” she said.

“While I understand there are cultural challenges and vastly different laws in other parts of the world, it is incumbent on all businesses operating in Australia to understand and apply Australian laws.”

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Apprenticeships can improve mental health

Will Gulliford, Tom Gulliford and Matt Ventrella have all been taken on as apprentices with Hutchinson Builders. Photo: James Brickwood Will Gulliford, Tom Gulliford and Matt Ventrella. All three have taken on Apprenticeships with Hutchinson Builders. Photo: James Brickwood

Andrew Gulliford is a site manager at Hutchinson. Photo: James Brickwood


An apprenticeship provided Hutchinson Builders site supervisor Andrew Gulliford with more than just a job.

It gave him quality training, mentoring, skills and a trade. It also gave him and other apprentices self-worth and purpose.

“The company invested a lot of time and effort into me,” he says.

Mr Gulliford now wants new apprentices, including his sons Will and Tom, to have the same quality training and life opportunities he was given.

“You are giving them a purpose in life,” Mr Gulliford said.

New University of Sydney research has found that quality apprenticeships can provide valuable social support and improve the mental health of young people making the transition from school to work.

The study showed how the workplace can play an important role in supporting mental health and wellbeing, beyond medications and therapy.

“Social structures of support are a vital third element in any mental health care and prevention regime,” it says.

Quality of training and mentoring can also boost apprenticeship completion rates which are as low as 50 per cent in Australia.

Study leader Professor John Buchanan said companies that provide quality training and mentoring have completion rates as high as 90 per cent.

The study Beyond mentoring: social support structures for young Australian carpentry apprentices looked at the best apprenticeship training schemes in the Australian carpentry trade and found work-based mentoring and social support could help prevent mental health problems, or detect them early. The study included small businesses and larger companies including Hutchinson Builders, Fairbrother Pty Ltd, Barangaroo Skills Exchange and East Coast Apprenticeships.

Professor Buchanan said many young people battle with mental health problems long before they are finally detected.

“The right support can prevent a lot of problems from happening. Or if you can’t prevent them, you have early warning systems that allow intervention before things spiral out of control,” he said.

“Among mental health experts is it widely recognised that the next big breakthrough for mental health isn’t going to come from drugs and one-on-one counselling, it is going to come from better social structures and support.”

The study quoted an experienced carpenter and now supervisor with Lend Lease at Barangaroo saying: “I came from Coffs Harbour originally … I dropped out of school there in year 10 and became a mischievous street kid … I moved to Sydney to work in a labouring job my uncle found for me … but it fell through … I’d just turned 18 and wanted to party with my mates. Sydney has so many openings with clubs, the Cross … too many distractions … without them, I’d have been lost.”

The research found that quality apprenticeships were not something that could be simply “added on” as a separate program. Quality on-the-job learning and informal and peer-based mentoring was found to be more effective.

“An effective social structure support isn’t something you bolt onto the side of something,” Professor Buchanan said. “When you look at the apprenticeship system the things that really provide the support are not the arrangements that are funded by the Commonwealth Government. It is the quality of the day-in-day-out arrangements that merge skill development and personal development.

“When people turned up on the job people took notice of them and respected them and listened to their requests for help, offered insights in how to become more competent on the job and if problems emerged, helped them solve them. They felt safe to ask for guidance.”

Professor Buchanan said apprenticeships were most effective in workplaces that provided on-and-off-the-job training and enough time for skills to be learned gradually.

Will Gulliford, 20, from Narrabeen is six months into a four-year apprenticeship with Hutchinsons and is one of seven apprentices. He hopes to become a site manager like his father and said he socialises with some of the other apprentices. He said older workers are always willing to help him learn the trade.

“They know you are a new person on the job. They always help you out,” he said.

Fourth-year apprentice Matt Ventrella, 19, from Picnic Point said he was given a variety of roles and hopes to become a site or contract manager.

“We are all very close in Hutchies. If I want to do something, I’m not shy to ask. They are very helpful and willing to give you a go.

“I think doing an apprenticeship is very good for your confidence.”

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Shares Race Week One: Profit results heat up competition

The AFR’s Phil Baker and Money’s Caitlin Fitzsimmons have created a commanding lead. Photo: SuppliedProfit reporting season is a nail-biting time for companies and investors, as our Shares Race players experienced this week.

Ansell has been one of the stars of reporting season so far. Its shares have risen 12 per cent during the race week – where the All Ordinaries slipped 0.5 per cent – after investors welcomed the potential sale of its condom business to focus on its industrial clothing and protective gloves operations. The stocks sits in the portfolio of second-placed Money editor Caitlin Fitzsimmons.

Ten Network is also a strong performer off the blocks for Fitzsimmons, a happy accident as she originally picked Technology One but the code TNE was incorrectly input as TEN. Technology One has lost ground.

But it’s Ausdrill that edged out Ansell at the top of the leaderboard, rocketing after the mining services company secured a $157 million contract extension at a mine in Ghana. It has helped lift the Australian Financial Review’s columnist Phil Baker into first spot. Baker has also picked some companies that have impressed in reporting season so far, including Magellan Financial, Orora​ Group and Mirvac Group.

The Shares Race this month features four Money readers, all of whom are trying their hands on some relatively unknown small cap and speculative stocks. The small cap space is traditionally more volatile, so there may be a few shakeups in the leaderboard this month.

A bet on investor relations firm Redchip is a standout among the smaller names and reader Mendy Amzalak’s pick, but some others have disappointed, including Kingston Resources and South Pacific Resources, which have dragged him into last place. South Pacific is the worst performing stock so far, falling around 15 per cent during the Friday to Thursday race week.

Three Money readers will be looking to recoup their losses from the first week, with David Atkinson and Susan V. Miles joining Amzalak in shrinking their initial $100,000 investment after week one.

Company profit season is set to heat up in week two. No doubt the contestants will be eager for their companies yet to report to prove their faith in them right, though with most of Baker’s and Fitzsimmons’ companies already reported, they look hard to beat.

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How to be your own real estate agent: selling your property yourself can save thousands of dollars

Selling your property yourself can save you a bundle. Photo: Frances Mocnik Laboratory manager Marina Tretiach sold her house recently through an online marketplace, bypassing the services of a real estate agent. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

It’s never been easier to be your own real estate agent.

There are at least a dozen websites that let you sell your property yourself, with fees a tiny fraction of the commissions charged by real estate agents.

Marina Tretiach recently sold her house in Sydney’s Lane Cove through ForSaleByOwner苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛, saving tens of thousands of dollars in agent’s fees.

The laboratory manager was looking to buy another house outside Sydney for more than a year and had attended many auctions.

“I thought to myself that I can do all the things that agents do,” Marina says. “I am really familiar with the area and I know the house and I was sure that I could do as good a job as they could do.”

Marina found the process easy, the website providing a video tutorial on what to do.

The websites appear to be broadly similar in their approach. They have a basic marketing package where online ads are placed on leading real estate websites as well on the sites themselves.

The vendor can add further services and products, such as a “for sale” sign for the front of the property and brochures.

Although all properties are listed with prices, the vendor can opt to go to auction where the website can supply an auctioneer for the day.

The vendor decides whether to have open houses or whether to have private viewings, the vendor handing all the inquiries themselves.

Marina sold her house for the asking price within three weeks of listing.

Her open houses were well attended but one day she received a call from someone who had seen the for-sale sign and wanted to see the house privately. He was the eventual buyer. Save commissions

Paul Heath, the chief executive of BuyMyPlace苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛, says by selling their properties themselves vendors can save a fortune in commissions and marketing costs.

Applying a typical commission of 2.25 per cent to the median Sydney house price equates to a saving of $24,000.

Also, there are some savings on the typical marketing expenses of about 1 per cent, he says.

Heath says private vendors most often still get appraisals from their local real estate agents and go to a lot of auctions and look at what similar properties are fetching.

The websites can provide local sales records.

Colin Sacks, chief executive of ForSaleByOwner, says private vendors need proper support.

“It’s one thing not to use an agent but another not to use an agent and to do it well,” he says. “An agent does bring certain skills to the table and so the question is whether we are able to bring those skills together in an online environment. We provide vendors with a ‘dashboard’ where they will see all the inquiries and whether people are looking at their ads in Domain苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 and Realestate苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 and other sites.”

Sacks says most people using his site are paying about $1000, which includes a for-sale board for the front of the property. Agents fight back

Real estate agents are sceptical of claims made by websites that private vendors are routinely achieving higher prices than if they had used an agent.

Michael Harris, the director of Raine & Horne in Sydney’s Newton, has been selling property for 17 years.

“What I am today is not what I was when I started in real estate, which is what your average mum and dad is going to be like,” Harris says. “People do not realise the amount of work that you have to do to sell a house.”

Real estate agent Trudy Biggin, of Biggin & Scott in Melbourne’s Brighton, says a good agent can advise on how the property should be presented to create that “wow” factor.

She says one of the main skills of a good agent is in negotiating with a potential buyer so as to achieve the best price for the vendor.

“If you know that someone really likes the house, the skill is to keep them focused on that house and to pay a premium price,” she says.

Sam Lally, a buyer’s agent at Buyer’s Advocate Australia in Melbourne’s Hawthorn, agrees.

Lally sold real estate before switching to helping buyers and he says you need to know how to talk to potential buyers, what information to get from them and how to qualify them.

In his role as a buyer’s agent, Lally “loves” dealing with vendors directly.

“Some people think their skills in their professional areas of expertise are transferable to property negotiations,” he says.

“Private vendors are often no match for experienced property negotiators, such as buyer’s advocates or agents.

“Vendors who use good agents have a better chance of getting a better price for their property.”

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