Coles’ half-year 2014 sales were driven by good result from its supermarket stores, while in the convenience sector, Coles Express saw higher merchandise sales offset by lower fuel volumes and prices.
In convenience, store sales increased 8.1% per cent, while fuel volume growth fell by 6.9% for the half year. “Lower fuel volumes were due to reduced fuel docket discounts given, while reduced fuel volumes were partially offset by improved store sales,” Coles said.
A growing convenience store offer included an improved value proposition with stronger in-store promotions such as ‘Only at Coles Express’ specials, a better range and customer offer, and the roll out of ‘expresso to go’ and frozen carbonated beverages to more than 300 stores.
As a group, Coles earnings for the half-year ended 31 December 2014, increased 7.1% to $895 million on overall sales growth of 2.8%, while food and liquor sales grew 5.3% to $15.559 billion.
“Sales momentum continued during the half as ongoing productivity improvements and efficiencies funded greater investment in lower prices. Further improvement in the quality and availability of fresh food also supported growth in customer transactions, basket size and sales density,” Coles said.
At the end of 2014 there were 492 stores in the flagship ‘Renewal’ format, representing 64% of all supermarkets. Coles Online posted strong growth and more convenience with over 100 ‘click & collect’ sites available nationally.
Early initiatives of the Coles Liquor turnaround program focused on price investment, inventory management, range rationalisation and store network optimisation.
During the half, 12 new sites were opened (two closed), while the strong partnership with Viva Energy saw eight alliance sites opened, for a net 652 Coles Express sites.