Woolworths Limited has released its first half year sales results, with its food and liquor business experiencing a 4.7 percent rise on the previous year.
A statement issued by the company reported $30.7 billion in total group sales. Food and liquor sales for the first half were $20.5 billion, an incerase of 4.7 percent on last year.
CEO Grant O'Brien, said "Australian Food and Liquor performed well, growing by $0.9 billion, and continued to increase market share, customer numbers, basket size and items sold when compared to the same period last year. Effective promotional activities, leveraging our growing customer data capabilities, and the return to inflation in Produce have assisted this result."
In the supermarket division, comparable store sales for the half year increased by 2.4 percent, and for the second quarter 2.5 percent. They also served an average of 20.2 million customers per week, a jump of 4.6 percent.
Tjeerd Jegen, managing director Australian Supermarkets and Petrol said, "The result for the second quarter was pleasing with a particularly strong month in December. Sales across each of our Fresh departments exceeded expectations with the Produce, Seafood and Meat departments performing well and a great customer response to our ‘Xmas Fresh Fairs’.
"We have improved our performance in packaged goods but remain focused on building further momentum in this area to achieve the results we are targeting. The continuation of our ‘For Less For Families’ program as well as the launch of our ‘Cash For Christmas’ campaign have all been well received and millions of customers Australia wide have received the benefits of these and other initiatives."
Both Woolworths and its key competitor, Coles, have been focusing on affordability for consumers lately, with the latter recently expanding its Down Down range of discounted products.
Woolworths says the standard shelf price movement index for the half year was inflation of one percent, and whilst produce returned to inflation during the half, it went back into deflation in December.
Average prices experienced deflation of 2.8 percent for the half year.
Brad Banducci, director of Liquor said, "Our Liquor business continues to generate strong positive growth momentum with sales growth experienced across all three formats – Dan Murphy’s, Convenience (BWS and Woolworths Liquor) and Direct (Cellarmasters and Langton’s). Growth has been assisted by store openings and our continued investment in multi-option.Particularly pleasing was the growth in Dan Murphy’s Online, assisted by the national roll-out of click and collect across the entire Dan Murphy’s network – a first for a major national retailer."
Woolworths opened 17 Australian supermarkets in the half year, bringing the total to 887. It also opened 11 Dan Murphy's outlets, taking the total to 170.
Coles also released its sales figures earlier this week, and is experiencing steady growth in food and liquor. Comparable food and liquor sales grew 3.8 percent for the half. Read more on Coles' performance here.