Continued focus on utilising customer data to provide targeted offers has helped Woolworths power through the challenging retail conditions.

Woolworths reported total group sales for third quarter is up 2.5 per cent to $14.4 billion. This was mainly driven by its core Australian food and liquor division, which includes the supermarket chain, that lifted sales by 5.6 per cent or $0.5 billion to $9.9 billion on the previous year of 4.9 per cent.

According to Woolworths chief executive Grant O’Brien momentum grew during this quarter with Easter trade in March.

“The momentum of the first half has continued into this quarter as a result of a sharpened focus on our core businesses and early results from on our strategic priorities. While this progress is pleasing, there is still a lot of work to do in transforming our business,” he said.

“The underlying performance was strong despite challenging retail conditions, particularly in general merchandise. We remain focused on improving this growth while enhancing the shopping experiencing of our customers, and building a solid platform for the future.”

Big W also reported positive results of a 3.4 per cent increase in sales, as did the company’s home improvement division that saw a 37.4 per cent uplift.
Online sales also continue to growth with operations increasing 36 per cent for the quarter.  O’Brien said it reflects the company’s success of its multi-option strategies and ongoing changes to customer shopping preferences.

“The momentum in Woolworths’ sales results reflects that our customers like the way we are using insights we have on their needs through the investment we have made in customer engagement,” he said.

“Customers are responding to the targeted offers we can make by having a more advanced understanding on the range, value and convenience they need to meet the challenges of their increasingly busy lives and tighter family budgets. We are finding that customers feel empowered by the options we can provide them by being open to new ways of delivering value.”