Officeworks Sales Up 0.3%, Coles, Bunnings "Solid"

Written by Oonagh Reidy     30/01/2013 | 01:27 | Category: INDUSTRY

Coles, Bunnings, Kmart all "solid" performers, while Officeworks tech sales struggle


Wesfarmers retail giant announces "solid performance" in Q2 2013 with Coles, Bunnings and Kmart all up, although Officeworks didn't fare nearly as well as it struggles with price deflation in electronics categories.

Coles sales (both food and liquor and Coles Express) grew 5.2% in the second quarter to $9.8bn in the 14 week period 24 September - 31 December, with Wesfarmers' Home Improvement division including Bunnings growing 6.6%.

Officeworks sales rose just 0.3% in the quarter to $350 million and while store sales were disappointing, up 0.1 per cent compared to the corresponding period despite opening four new Officeworks stores, there was good growth in online sales.

For the first half of the 2013, Officeworks online sales growth exceeded 10 per cent, although total H1 sales were still flat, rising just 0.3 per cent to $712 m.

"Officeworks continued to see solid growth in online sales," said Wesfarmers Managing Director Richard Goyder.

However, sales were flat due to ongoing deflation in technology categories and "continued challenging conditions" for small to medium sized business customers, he added.

Wesfarmers Managing Director of Home Improvement and Office Supplies, John Gillam, said Officeworks was progressing well with the development of its "every channel" offer to customers.

"Providing a broad range of customers with a compelling in-store offer while continuing to invest in the online channel remain key priorities for the team." The office suppliers said it will continue to expand its presence in the business market.

Target store sales were also flat, growing just 0.6% to $1.2bn in the second quarter, and sales in electrical and entertainment categories remained "challenging."

Wesfarmers MD said that he was generally pleased with the group's sales results, in particular the solid performance of Coles, Bunnings and Kmart.

The December quarter represented the fifteenth consecutive quarter of growth in comparable sales for Coles.

"The retail businesses continue to improve their customer offers, with record numbers of shoppers visiting our stores during the Christmas period," Mr Goyder said.

Bunnings enjoyed good transaction growth in consumer and commercial, with sales of $2.1bn, despite the soft housing market.

Kmart's total sales increased 3.8 per cent for the quarter, and was up 3.5% for H1 2013. This improving sales trend, supported by strong growth in transactions and units, reflected Kmart's investment in low prices on everyday items.

Westfarmers shares fell 1.55% to $38.22 on the ASX today.