For the ninth consecutive month, Wesfarmers’ Coles has beaten grocery rival Woolworths in the supermarket wars.

Coles reported a 5.3 per cent growth in food and liquor sales to $6.18 billion for the final quarter of 2010-11, which pushed results for comparable store sales for the year up by 6.3 per cent to $25.02 billion.

Coles managing director Ian McLeod said he was encouraged by the underlying comparable sales growth achieved through increased supermarket transactions and bigger basket spends.

“Coles has developed a series of efficiency programs across the business, lowering our cost of doing business and creating a savings pool which we have used to re-invest in the form of lower prices, improved quality and better stores and service,” he said.

“Our customers have responded positively to our ‘Down Down’ campaign to reduce shelf prices on the products they buy most against a backdrop of rising costs of living that has adversely affected consumer sentiment and industry sales.”

Another positive outcome in Wesfarmers’ report was hardware retail Bunnings, which a 5.7 per cent uplift in  otal sales for the year of $6.8 billion were. Total store sales for the financial year4 grew 5.6 per cent, while store-on-store growth was 3 per cent.

Likewise, Officeworks achieved 4.4 per cent growth in total sales for the year underpinned by strong transaction. Retail sales across the Officeworks store network increased by 1.6 per cent over the same period, which was consistent with the third quarter where trading conditions challenging given the uncertainty and volatility in both retail customer sentiment and business confidence.

Unfortunately, Target experienced difficult trading conditions throughout the year, with total sales declining by 1.2 per cent down to $3.8 billion. Meanwhile, Kmart’s total sales were broadly flat and it remained in line with last year at $4 billion.