Woolworths announced first quarter sales of $13.4 billion, as sales increased 7.4 per cent excluding the impact of petrol sales and 4.2 per cent including petrol sales.
“This sales result is a solid start to the financial year reflecting our continued focus and investment to deliver value and enhance the customer experience,” said CEO Michael Luscombe.
Australian food and liquor performed very well as sales for the quarter increased 7.8 per cent. Comparable store sales in Australian food and liquor division for the quarter increased 5.8 per cent.
However, petrol did not fare as well as prices continued to drop. Petrol dollar sales for the quarter, including Woolworths/Caltex Alliance sites, decreased 16.4 per cent, with average fuel sell prices well below the prior year. Petrol comparable sales decreased by 18.1 per cent. Petrol litres sold increased 3.6 per cent, with comparable litres having increased 1.6 per cent for the quarter.
As expected, Big W had another solid performance with sales for the quarter $1,096 million representing an increase of 5.8 per cent. Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 3.9 per cent. Home and family categories performed particularly well.
Total consumer electronics grew by 13.2 per cent during the first quarter. Consumer electronics (in Australia and New Zealand) has continued to enjoy solid growth with sales for the quarter increasing 8.4 per cent, comparable store sales increased by 4.1 per cent during the quarter.
Australian comparable sales increased 6.5 per cent, including 15.1 per cent comparable growth for the medium Dick Smith stores (excluding Tandy and the large former Powerhouse stores).
“Australia has faired well to date in the global financial crisis, assisted by significant government spending in the prior year,” said Luscombe.
“As the economy stabilises, this spending will not be replicated to the same degree in the 2009-10 financial year. Discretionary spending will continue to be influenced by macro-economic factors such as interest rates, petrol prices and confidence around employment.
“As a result, consumer confidence levels and therefore spending are very difficult to predict for the next financial year. Subject to the uncertainty these factors create, we maintain our sales outlook for the full year where we expect group sales to grow in the upper single digits (excluding petrol sales),” he concluded.