When Woolworths announced plans to stop accepting debit credit cards, one of the most common reactions amongst commenters was "I'm going to shift my shopping somewhere else!" But if Woolworths' quarterly results are any guide, very few people made good on that threat.
In Woolworths' core food division, just-released sales number for the fourth quarter — the first where that policy applied — show an increase in sales of 1.8% relative to the same quarter last year. That's not a massive rise, but it certainly doesn't suggest that there's been a mass defection to rival chains in the wake of the policy change. The idea that Woolworths might reverse the decision based on a loss of sales equally looks more like wishful thinking than ever.
I don't deny that a handful of shoppers might have decided to change supermarkets, or that Woolworths' attitude (essentially, "we'd rather save a few cents on transactions than give you maximum flexibility as a customer") came across as offensive to many people. But as our recent guide to legal tender pointed out, no shop is obliged to accept any specific form of payment. To judge from the numbers, Woolworths decision hasn't been much of a deal-breaker now the noise has died down.