Endeavour Drinks Group (EDG) has reported solid sales growth for the first quarter as part of a strong set of sales results for the Woolworths Group.
The group reported that EDG sales increased by 3.8 per cent to $2bn for the first quarter of the 2018 financial year, with comparable sales increasing by 3.3 per cent. The group does not report on profit levels in these first quarter results.
In its report EDG said: “Our retail businesses, BWS and Dan Murphy’s, delivered positive comparable growth in the quarter driven by strong promotional campaigns with both banners continuing to outpace market growth.
“The liquor market remains competitive, however, key sporting events drove an improvement in market growth over the quarter.
“During the quarter, we launched Express Delivery in BWS following a successful trial to supplement our one-hour pick-up service. Customers can now request home delivery seven days a week up to 9pm across all major cities in Australia. Deliveries can be scheduled at a time to suit the customer or delivered as soon as possible with average delivery time to date of just under one hour.
“Dan Murphy’s Online continued to deliver double-digit growth.”
EDG said that BWS had been “a particular highlight” in the quarter and that it was pleased with the positive start to the year.
Pressed on why BWS was a highlight and whether there was any switch in people’s alcohol buying behaviour, Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci, said: “It’s early in the quarter and Dan Murphy’s is more of an events-driven business than BWS and so it really comes into its own as we get into Spring Carnival and Christmas, but there has been an improvement in BWS.
“There used to be a bit of a gap between BWS and Dan’s in growth rates and comps sales, so it was really pleasing to see BWS to come up to Dan’s equivalent levels. It would be fair to say that a significant proportion of it was in our attached BWS stores, so our increased traffic in Woolworths supermarkets has helped those attached stores, as did the Woolworths Rewards program. As we get better at personalising offers then BWS is strong presence in that program.
“It really was a case of strengthening BWS as much as much as anything else.”
Over the quarter EDG opened two Dan Murphy’s stores, bringing the total fleet size to 221 and also opened eight and closed two BWS stores, ending the quarter with a total of 1304 stores.
Woolworths also reported that its hotel sales for the quarter were $441m, an increase of 4.1 per cent on the previous year. Comparable sales increased by 4.1 per cent.
The company said that bar sales were the highlight assisted by key sporting events, promotional activity and the strong performance of recently refurbished venues.
Woolworths closed one hotel during the quarter to end at 328.
Speaking of the group’s overall performance, Banducci, said: “We have continued the good sales momentum from the second half of FY17 and made pleasing progress against our key priorities over the quarter. We are focused on working together to create better customer and team experiences across the Group.
“We are also conscious of the changing needs of our customers who are looking for increasing levels of convenience and we are working hard to meet this need, with Pick up one of the many initiatives we have underway.
“While we are pleased with the progress during the quarter, there remains much more to do with our focus now firmly on the important Christmas trading period.”