By Andrew Starke
Wesfarmers has released its retail sales results for the second quarter of the 2011 financial year with a strong Christmas week bolstering Cole’s liquor and food returns.
Managing director Richard Goyder said that overall the second quarter sales results were strong in a period marked by consumer caution, heightened by an increasing interest rate environment, and unseasonal wet and cool weather on the east coast of Australia.
Deflation was evident across all divisions, driven by a competitive retail landscape and strong Australian dollar.
“Coles continues to build on the momentum of its turnaround program delivering food and liquor comparable store sales growth of 6.6 per cent for the second quarter,” he said.
“Trading for the quarter, including a very strong Christmas week, was driven by ongoing product innovation, improving store standards and availability and continuing investment in value for customers.”
Headline food and liquor sales for the second quarter1 were $7.0 billion, up 6.7 percent on the previous corresponding period.
Coles MD Ian McLeod said he was very pleased with the sales result given virtually flat store space growth during the period.
“The second quarter result was capped off with a record Christmas sales period for Coles food and liquor, with 15.5 million customers coming through our store check-outs during the Christmas week alone,” he said.
“Coles succeeded in attracting thousands of new customers to our stores in the lead up to Christmas by offering a broader Christmas range, high quality fresh produce and lower prices. As a result, we achieved double digit headline sales growth in the Christmas week.”
Coles completed 30 renewal stores in the second quarter, bringing the cumulative total to 91 renewal stores out of a national fleet of 742 supermarkets.
In addition, Coles opened 14 new liquor stores to take the total liquor store network to 787 stores across Australia.