Woolworths today announced full year sales of $55.1 bn, a 4.8% jump on 2011. 

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iPad massive seller at Big W

Retail giant Woolworths has fared well in what it admits was a “challenging year” as Group sales (including divested Dick Smith operation) was $56.7 bn, a 4.7% on 2011 FY.

Woolies said it had made “pleasing progress” against its business plan. 

Total online sales, on everything from food to booze and electronics, increased a massive 95% for the year (48% excluding Cellarmasters).

On the electronics front, both Dick Smith and Big W sales also enjoyed a major turnaround in the 12 months to 24 June.

However, Dick Smith which Woollies said it would divest several months ago, climbed in sales by 2.1%, despite the uncertainty over its future.

Dick’s sales increased to $1.3 bn in FY 2012 and showed a massive increase of 10.4% in Q4, as consumers engaged in an end of financial year spending rush and also cited the success of Ad campaigns such as ‘Dick Does’ and ‘Cheapest Ever’.

Comparable sales increased 4.3% for the year and 15.4% for Q4, which reflected strong promotions, stock clearances and store closure sales.

Overall, 52 Dick Smith stores were closed during the year as part of the divesting strategy, which is said to be near completion and there’s currently 286 stores open in Australia and 62 in  NZ.

BIG W’s sales for the year was $4.2 bn, an increase of 0.5% on 2011, and went from negative growth of (2.7)% in Q1 to 4.6% growth in Q4 y-o-y.

There was continued improvement in sales, customers and the number of items bought during the year for the discount chain, which is one of Australia’s biggest Apple resellers.

Sales were driven by 7 new stores, growth in online and strong performance from apparel. Good performers in Q4 Womenswear, Footwear, Menswear, Toys and “everyday essential items ” including the iPad got a special mention as hot sellers.

Big W’s comparable sales increased 0.3% for the second half and 1.6% in Q4, which Woolies said was “pleasing given the continued price deflation and challenging retail conditions.”

“There was additional uplift in sales in the last five weeks of the year as aresult of the government assistance programs,” Julie Coates, Director BIG W said.

‘Food and Liquor’ sales for FY 2012 were up 3.8% to $37.5 billion, while ‘Home Improvement’ sales increased 24.7% for the year to $828m, attributed to sales from the first 15 Masters stores opened during the year. 

CEO Grant O’Brien said “Woolworths is pleased with the 4.7% growth in its full year sales result. The result is underpinned by continued growth in customer numbers, market share and units sold. “

The last quarter in particular was “a stronger end to what was a challenging year” as “retail conditions remained subdued due to consumer and business uncertainty and an unseasonably cold and wet summer period,” which was exacerbated by significant deflation, he added.


“The strong results reflect the resilience of our business as we continually adapt to the changing economic environment.”

“There is a lot of hard work ahead, but with a lot of upside as well. Despite the tough economic times, we will continue to invest in developing new stores, building our multi-option infrastructure and building new businesses like Masters.”

Multi-option remains a “key focus” for the retailing stalwart, the company said, and continues to evolve at pace with 2.3 million downloads of Woolworths related apps including the supermarkets app for iPad, the BIG W lay-by app and toysale pop-up stores.

Other milestones in online retailing were Supermarkets mobile shopping app, a virtual shopping wall, BIG W mobile app, the Door Buster daily deals site, click then collect and a new generation supermarket online platform.

Total online sales, which jumped 95%, however, are still small compared to the rest of the Woolworths business, it said. 

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