Chief Executive Officer, Grant O’Brien said: “Woolworths Limited today announced first quarter FY15 sales of $16.2 billion, an increase of 3.0% on the previous year or 4.1% excluding Petrol.
“Australian Food and Liquor delivered sales growth of 3.9% on the previous year. Following a pleasing July result, trading was softer in August and September with growth impacted by differences in the timing of promotional activities compared to the prior year and the cycling of higher fuel discount activity.
“We are focused on delivering lower prices everyday to our customers and launched our ‘Cheap Cheap’ campaign at the end of the quarter by reducing a number of prices on key household items. We were the first Australian supermarket to reduce the price of white bread to 85 cents and have also reduced prices on other staple products including Lamb Forequarter Chops and Beef Mince.
“Petrol sales decreased 4.5% on the previous year, impacted by reduced fuel discount activity following the undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Despite lower fuel volumes, the merchandise offer continues to deliver strong results, increasing 8.8% for the quarter.
“New Zealand Supermarkets’ sales increased 1.1%1 on the previous year (5.6% increase in
“General Merchandise sales decreased 0.4% on the previous year, with the BIG W transformation continuing to adversely impact results as previously advised. Positive comparable sales growth in Softgoods during the quarter is an indication that we are making progress with our new offer.
“Hotel sales decreased 1.0% on the previous year or increased 0.5% excluding the impact of the additional Victorian gaming tax which came into effect from May 2014. Trading conditions in Victoria and Queensland remain challenging.
“Home Improvement sales increased 20.7% on the previous year. In Masters, sales increased 30.8%. We commenced implementation of the changes we communicated in August, including an enhanced store format and range. We also launched the ‘Australia You’ve Been Paying Too Much’ campaign. Home Timber and Hardware delivered sales growth of 12.0%, a pleasing result driven by recent store refurbishments.
“Online sales across the Group increased more than 30% for the quarter with further development of our Online business remaining a key focus. We have extended access to Click & Collect services, with BIG W and EziBuy orders now able to be collected from selected Supermarket locations. We also launched the ‘Dan Murphy’s Connections’ platform which provides customers with an extended range including products from boutique wineries and craft brewers.
“While first quarter sales were lower than expected, we are confident that our trading plans will improve momentum in the second quarter which includes the key Christmas period.
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