On Friday, Woolworths stores across Australia experienced an electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) outage, affecting between 10 and 20 stores and prompting customers to pay in cash. The supermarket chain is still investigating the exact cause of these sporadic issues, but it is understood that internet problems were the main culprit.
Locations affected by the outage included Mawson in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Pakenham Market Place in Victoria, Stafford in Queensland, as well as areas in Sydney's south and west. One store in Queensland alerted customers to the issue via social media at 07:30 Australian Time (17:30 ET). By 13:00 Australian Time, the system was back up and running.
The store's social media post read: “Pittsworth Woolworths is currently experiencing Internet issues and our EFTPOS system is disabled. Unfortunately, we can only use cash until this issue is resolved.” This announcement sparked a debate online about the merits of a cashless society with some commenters arguing against it.
According to InvestingPro data, Woolworths, a prominent player in the Consumer Staples Distribution & Retail industry, has a market cap of $617.67M. Despite a negative P/E ratio of -4.21, the company has maintained dividend payments for 31 consecutive years, a testament to its financial resilience. The company's revenue stands at $699M as of the second quarter of 2023, with a gross profit of $394.8M.
A Woolworths spokesperson thanked customers for their patience during the IT outage affecting EFTPOS in a number of stores. "Shops have remained open and cash can still be used. The cause has been identified and EFTPOS is being restored," they said.
The incident led to signs being posted in stores asking customers to pay by cash only due to the temporary lack of EFTPOS services. One of the signs read: “We temporarily have no EFPOS due to no internet. Cash only. Sorry for any inconvenience."
By Friday afternoon, most of the affected stores had their systems back online, mitigating the disruption caused by the outage.
InvestingPro Tips suggest that Woolworths generally trades with low price volatility and that stockholders receive high returns on book equity. These insights, along with many more, can be found at InvestingPro, which provides real-time metrics and tips for investors.
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