Wesfarmers first quarter 2013 sales are “pleasing”, the retail CEO said today.
The retail giant and owner of Coles announced its retail sales results for the first quarter of the 2013 financial year. Home improvement and food and liquor were the big winners in Westfarmers’ first quarter, up 4.7% and 4.2% (3.7 per cent on like-for-like basis) in 12 months.

However, sales at its Officesupplies division, which includes Officeworks retail network, rose just 0.3% to $362 million, despite having opened 5 new stores during the quarter sales period 25 June to 23 September.

Westfarmers Managing Director Richard Goyder said he was pleased with the result and his stores were well positioned to tackle the Christmas rush.

“Pleasing transaction and volume growth was achieved in the period, ahead of sales growth, as Coles continued its focus on improving product quality, service and value,” he said.

“Officeworks recorded good growth in online sales, offsetting challenging conditions associated with a subdued trading environment for many of its small to medium sized business customers and high levels of deflation in technology related categories,” Westfarmers MD said.

Officeworks’ online sales were ‘strong’ enjoying double digit growth, while store sales declined by 0.2%,. The company said it was continuing to invest in the online platform, in line with its “every channel” strategy.

Westfarmers Home Improvement and Office Supplies boss, John Gillam, said Officeworks was working hard to improve its “every channel” offer to customers in order to offset challenging trading conditions.

The retailer is also continuing to make good progress in the B2B segment of the market.

Bunnings’ total store sales increased 5.1 per cent for the quarter, and did well in consumer and commercial segments despite the subdued housing market.

Store transaction growth remained robust, reflecting a positive response to the evolving Bunnings offer.

“Good progress continues to be made on key strategic initiatives, particularly in service, merchandising and our supply chain.”


Target sales also rose 2.2% to $853 million, although comparable store sales declined 4.1 per cent.

Discounter Kmart’s sales were up slightly higher than Target’s, at 3.1%, the eleventh period of solid comparable growth.

Goyder said all of the retail divisions are making strong progress in their strategic plans and were well positioned ahead of the Christmas trading period.

Coles experienced food and liquor price deflation of 3.2 per cent during the quarter. They opened one new store and closed three, with a total of 747 at the end of its first quarter.

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