By James Atkinson

Coles recorded headline food and liquor sales of $15 billion for the first half of the 2014 financial year ended December 31, a 4.7 per cent increase on the prior corresponding period.

Comparable food and liquor store sales increased 3.6 per cent overall, parent company Wesfarmers reported.

With liquor stripped out, comparable food store sales growth was 4.2 per cent, suggesting the much smaller liquor division would have experienced little underlying sales growth over the period, with management currently focused on improving profitability.

But Wesfarmers said liquor’s sales momentum did improve during the half as a result of "targeted value offers funded by efficiency savings" and a better Christmas trading period.

“During the period the business continued to focus on targeted offers, tailoring of ranges to both format and location, and further optimisation of the store network,” it said.

“Encouraging customer responses to category and format innovation were also recorded during the half.”

Coles opened 20 new liquor stores and closed six liquor stores in the half, increasing the liquor division’s selling area from 199,178 square metres to 204,449 square metres.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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