Woolworths has announced that half year sales have increased six per cent to $27.2 billion with Big W, Dick Smith and Woolworths supermarkets all showing growth.
Woolworths’ chief executive officer and managing director, Michael Luscombe, said he was pleased with the result.
“Our supermarkets achieved solid volume and market share growth whilst experiencing lower levels of inflation in Australia and New Zealand, and the cycling of the anniversary of the Australian Government stimulus payments,” he said.
In Australia, this quarter’s sales result is a strong indication of the positive impact of the Australian Government’s first stimulus package in 2008 said Luscombe, which underpinned high consumer confidence during the global economic downturn and helped to safeguard jobs across the retail industry.
“Due to our customer focus, we were very well positioned and therefore received a clear benefit from the stimulus package in the prior financial year,” he said.
Fourteen new supermarkets were opened during the half year taking the total to 813.
New Zealand supermarkets achieved a sales result of NZ$2.69 billion for the half year, an increase of 4.5 per cent in NZD. Second quarter achieved sales of NZ$1.37 billion, an increase of 4.1 per cent in NZD terms.
“In New Zealand, Woolworths’ supermarket business grew strongly despite the economic climate, reflecting our investment in price, product, stores and systems,” said Luscombe.
During the half year, two new supermarkets were opened taking the total to 204 including franchisees.
Big W sales grew 2.3 per cent during the half and declined 0.3 per cent for the second quarter. Sales for the second quarter almost achieved the prior year level which received a significant benefit from the government stimulus package in December 2008.
Three Big W stores were opened during the half year taking total stores in the division to 159.
Total consumer electronics sales grew 5.9 per cent during the half and 0.2 per cent for the second quarter. Australian Dick Smith stores (excluding Tandy and ex-Powerhouse stores) achieved comparable sales of 12.2 per cent for the half and 7.2 per cent for the second quarter. The new format Dick Smith stores continue to grow sales at a greater rate than ther older Dick Smith format stores, said Luscombe.
Thirteen (nine in Australia and four in New Zealand) Dick Smith stores were opened during the half taking total stores to 433.
Woolworths has been developing its strategy in relation to its online business across all retail trading divisions. Good progress has been made with online sales increasing 41 per cent for the half, said Luscombe.