By Claire Reilly

Woolworths Limited has released its sales results for the 2012-13 financial year, reporting total sales across the group of $59.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 6.8 per cent. When normalised to compensate for the 53-week year (compared to the 2011-12 financial year, which was 52 weeks) sales growth was 4.8 per cent.

The figure was largely driven by the company’s supermarket division, including Australian and New Zealand food and liquor, as well as petrol, which accounted for $51.4 billion in total. It did not factor in sales from Dick Smith — classified as discontinued operations — which was sold in September last year.

In discussing the group’s results, Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien spoke of “transformation”, challenging retail conditions and “solid” growth.

“The progress made in the 2013 financial year on our program of transformation for Woolworths Limited has been rewarded with a strong sales result,” said O’Brien. “The result demonstrates the benefits that have been gained from a sharpened focus on our core businesses and results from the implementation of our Strategic Priorities.

“We have achieved solid full year sales growth, which is particularly pleasing when measured against challenging retail conditions and an economic environment underpinned by consumer uncertainty and low growth in disposable income. The fourth quarter result was pleasing given these challenging economic conditions were particularly evident as the quarter progressed.

“We now know more about what our customers want than ever before and we are doing more to meet their needs. This is why more customers are shopping with us and has contributed to our market share growth.”

How Woolworths’ fared, retailer by retailer:

Australian Food & Liquor — including Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s
Total FY12 Sales $40 billion

“Australian Food and Liquor delivered a solid full year result with sales increasing 6.6 per cent (4.7 per cent adjusted for the 53rd week). Market share, customer numbers and basket size increased compared to the prior year. Strong volume growth was a key highlight. Our customer insights and ability to adapt to customers’ evolving needs continues to reap benefits for our business.”

Big W
Total FY12 Sales $4.4 billion

“Big W sales for the year increased 4.9 per cent (2.0 per cent adjusted for the 53rd week).  The second half result was pleasing in light of the challenging retail conditions and given that we did not have the benefit of government stimulus programs that were implemented in the fourth quarter last year. Our brand recognition is up and BIG W is more relevant than ever to our customers. This has led to solid growth in customer numbers and items sold.”

Home Improvement — including Masters and Danks
Total FY12 Sales $1.2 billion

“Our Home Improvement business continues to grow, with 31 Masters stores trading at the end of the financial year, up from 15 in the prior year. Home Improvement sales for the year grew 49.6 per cent (46.7 per cent adjusted for the 53rd week).  We are pleased with the initial customer response to Masters’ unique offering and market leading prices and we believe there is significant sustainable upside for this business over the long term.”


“Online sales from continuing operations increased 42 per cent for the year (38 per cent adjusted for the 53rd week) and is an important growth engine across our business as customer shopping preferences evolve.”

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