Coles Glee After ‘Best Christmas Ever’

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WE all love a good Christmas but it looks like 2011 was Coles best ever, it said today. Sales jumped 7.3% on the back of growth from food, liquor in its Coles supermarkets, but Officeworks, Bunnings and Kmart also delivered Christmas treats.

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Wesfarmers Ltd, owners of the Coles empire, announced its half and second quarter sales results to 31 December ’11 and has plenty to celebrate – the period delivered a “record- breaking Christmas” achieving its biggest ever sales week during the period, it said today.

And it looks like Officeworks repositioning has paid off – the retailer’s sales grew 0.2% in the second quarter (Oct-Dec) thanks to “strong transaction growth”, while total sales for the store and Harris Technology was $349 million – a 0.9% jump on same time last year.

And Westfarmers office supplies division was also up for the six month period 01 July – 31 Dec last ( H1 2012) sales lifted, albeit slightly, by 0.6% to $710m, as the business “built on the solid sales growth achieved during the first half” of the year.

This figure compared to $706m sales the same time a year ago.

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Price deflation continued to present challenges, particularly in technology and furniture, Westfarmers said in a statement today.

Officeworks is working on improving its offering, which is being received favourably by an increasing number of customers.

However, Officeworks new store growth was slim – with just one new outlet was opened during Q2 bringing the number of stores to 136, while one Harris Tech store was shut, bringing the total to 3.

Total food and liquor sales for fiscal Q2 at Coles grew by 4.3% to $7.3 bn, while total sales in H1 2012 increased by 4.9% to $13.6 billion.

Bunnings sales increased 5.5% in the quarter, attributed to solid contribution from new store openings and growth in both consumer and commercial areas.

Coles Managing Director, Richard Goyder, said he was “pleased” with the Group’s sales result, particularly the momentum in Coles and Bunnings, where both businesses recorded good sales growth in Q2, given the “tough retail environment and widespread deflation.”

“Our retail businesses continue to work hard to execute strategies that are improving the value and shopping experience of their customers,” Goyder said.

And Woolies rival Coles reported its fourteenth straight quarter of store sales growth, with customer numbers growing faster than sales.

 

“Kmart and Officeworks continue to benefit from initiatives put in place to reposition these businesses,” he added.

“It was encouraging to see that both divisions reported another quarter of strong growth in both units sold and customer transactions although sales were affected by the deflationary pricing environment.

However, Target sales fell 3.1 per cent although December sales were “encouraging” as the business sought to improve promotional effectiveness and stock management.

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