By James Atkinson
Woolworths' Australian Food and Liquor division has reported third quarter sales of $9.9 billion, an increase of $0.5 billion or 5.6 per cent on the previous year (4.9 per cent Easter adjusted).
Comparable store sales in the division were up 3.8 per cent or 3.1 per cent Easter adjusted, which compared to a 2.4 per cent increase in the first half of the 2013 financial year.
Director of liquor Brad Banducci said the liquor business had another quarter of good growth with Convenience (BWS and Woolworths Supermarket Liquor) and Dan Murphy's both producing pleasing results despite the cycling of heavy promotional activity in the prior year.
"During the quarter, we continued the rebranding of our Woolworths Supermarket Liquor sites to BWS. A further 152 sites were rebranded as we work towards our target to have the majority of these sites converted to the BWS brand by the end of FY13," he said.
The company opened three Dan Murphy's during the quarter, taking the total to 174. It plans to open two more Dan Murphy's in the final quarter of the 2013 financial year.
Hotel sales through the Australian Leisure & Hospitality business were $353 million in the third quarter, an increase of 19.7 per cent on the previous year or 20.5 per cent Easter adjusted.
Comparable sales for the third quarter were up 11.4 per cent or 12.3 per cent Easter adjusted.
Growth was driven by the acquisition of 29 hotels in New South Wales, two in Queensland and one in Western Australia during the first half of the 2013 financial year as well as the impacts of the Victorian gaming regulatory changes that came into effect in August 2012.
ALH Group CEO Bruce Mathieson Jnr said: "Overall, the third quarter result was pleasing with positive comparable sales growth. Our Food offer remains a focus with strong sales continuing to counter ongoing challenges in the bar environment which are being experienced across most states."
ALH added one hotel to its business during the third quarter, bringing the total number of venues to 325.