Wesfarmers has today announced the Coles retail sales results for the first quarter of the 2019 financial year and for the first time this has included specific details of sales for Coles Liquor.

The result saw the Coles Liquor division, including hotels, record sales for the first quarter of $744m, an increase of 2.1 per cent on the prior corresponding period. Comparable liquor sales increased 1.3 per cent for the quarter, driven by growth in basket size and transactions.

Over a number of years, Coles has been working on transforming its liquor business, and in speaking about the progress of that in today’s results, the supermarket giant said: “The transformation program continued to deliver growth in sales, with significant opportunities remaining to improve product range through exclusive brands and deliver greater convenience for customers.

“Investment in the store network continued in the quarter with 21 store renewals, including the next evolution Liquorland format and seven First Choice Liquor Market brand conversions.”

Overall Coles saw a five per cent increase in sales for the first quarter, to $9.83bn, which Wesfamers’ Managing Director Rob Scott said was thanks to continued good momentum in Coles, improved in-store execution and investments in flybuys promotions.

“Coles Supermarkets’ headline sales increased 5.8 per cent during the quarter, and its total sales increased by 5.0 per cent,” Scott said.

“Strong growth in basket size, transaction numbers and units sold, as well as improvements in fresh market share supported the sales result. Coles’ liquor and convenience segments also recorded headline sales growth for the quarter.

“The result for the first quarter was pleasing as it demonstrated the ability of the Coles team to continue to focus on improving in-store execution while preparations continued for the proposed shareholder vote on the demerger of Coles,” he said.

At the end of the quarter Coles Liquor’s total number of venues remained 987, after closing one 1st Choice, three Liquorland and one hotel and opening five Liquorland stores. The store breakdown is 97 1st Choice, 84 Vintage Cellars, 719 Liquorland and 87 hotels.

Earlier this month Coles revealed the timetable for its proposed demerger from Wesfarmers, which will see shareholders vote on the issue next month. Coles said that if the demerger goes ahead it plans to continue to report quarterly sales as a standalone listed company in future quarters.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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