The results of the ongoing supermarket price wars has revealed that Wesfarmer-owned supermarket chain Coles is beating rival Woolworths, which reported a 4.6 per cent growth on its third-quarter food and liquor sales on Monday.

Coles’s food and liquor comparable stores sales growth reached 7.2 per cent, taking comparable food and liquor stores sales for the financial year to date to 6.7 per cent.

Headline food and liquor sales for the third quarter1 were $5.9 billion, up 7.1 per cent on the previous corresponding period and for the financial year to date were up 6.6 per cent to $18.8 billion.

Coles managing director Ian McLeod said Coles has been building a better shopping experience by improving operations and raising standards in existing stores.

“Coles has worked hard with our suppliers to produce better quality products as well as responding to customer concerns about animal welfare and ethical sourcing. Coles has responded by removing added hormones in our beef, moving to phase out caged eggs by 2013 and moving to phase out sow stall pork by 2014. Higher levels of trust in quality and sourcing programs have been rewarded with higher levels of fresh food sales as a result,” he said.

“In terms of value, customers have been looking for help in managing their weekly budget as higher costs and taxes squeeze disposable incomes. Coles is responding through our ‘Down Down’ campaign by lowering prices on over 5,000 products in the last year.”

These results along with Bunnings’ total sales for the quarter, which was up 8.1 per cent on the previous corresponding period, have helped boost Wesfarmer’s total third quarter sales to $11.08 billion in the three months to end the of March.

Wesfarmer managing director Richard Goyser said that the third quarter sales results were generally pleasing, despite that trading conditions that were affected by macroeconomic conditions and natural disasters.

Retail sales across the Officeworks store network increased by 6.4 per cent while total sales of $724 million for Target were in line with the previous corresponding period.

However, Kmart’s total sales declined by 2.5 per cent in the quarter as the business continued to invest in lowering prices on everyday items.

“Despite strong overall volume growth, sales in the period were partly suppressed by seasonal clearance activity, as well as lower sales in categories that were previously highly promotionally driven as the business refined its everyday low price offer,” McLeod said.