Woolworths glitch hits customer’s vouchers, executive departures continue

A technical glitch that allowed more than $1 million of shopping vouchers to be mistakenly emailed out as a spreadsheet to 1,000 people containing the codes of almost 8,000 gift cards and customers’ personal details has delivered a major blow to Woolworths.

The retailer has already seen the departure of five senior executives since January, while highly-regarded online chief Penny Wynn is believed to be moving to a non-executive director role.

According to media reports over the weekend, the spreadsheet with a downloadable link to 7,941 vouchers were worth $1,308,505, while anyone receiving the email was able to access the cash.

Customers should have only received an email with an attachment containing the voucher.

When customers tried to redeem their vouchers at Woolworths they discovered the money had already been spent by others, with one customer losing several $200 vouchers.

Customers had purchased a Groupon deal offering Big W eGift cards at a discount, with the cards also usable at Woolworths online and Caltex.

In May, Woolworths’ chief executive Grant O’Brien outlined its three year ‘Lean Retail’ growth strategy that he said would deliver more than $500 million of cost reduction across FY15-16, including investment in improving all aspects of the customer experience, lower prices, better convenience, and improved service and access.

The retailer also announced plans to cut another 400 support jobs.

And some Woolworths’ shareholders are reported to be campaigning for the appointment of former Woolworths chief Roger Corbett to the board to help solve problems in Big W, supermarkets and Masters home improvement chain.

Woolworths Australian Food and Liquor comparable store sales for the third quarter to April 5, 2015 increased by 0.7%. However, Coles supermarkets’ third quarter comparable food and liquor sales rose 3.8% and comparable food store sales jumped by 4.5% for the quarter.

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