Coles has recorded an improved trajectory of c-store sales growth in the third quarter of the financial year, boosted by improved sales in drinks, ice cream, food to go, and coffee.

Coles Express sales revenue of $269m for the third quarter declined by 2.2 per cent on the prior corresponding period, with comparable sales declining by 0.8 per cent. Gross retail sales of $285m declined by 2.1 per cent.

The group said in its third quarter result was an improvement on the 5.6 per cent decline recorded in the second quarter.

“Sales growth was impacted by significant flood events in New South Wales and Queensland and reduced consumer mobility as a result of the Omicron variant early in the third quarter. However, the improving trajectory of c-store sales growth was supported by seasonal categories such as drinks and ice cream, and food to go with continued strength in coffee across all states. The decline in tobacco sales moderated during the quarter with underlying c-store sales (ex-tobacco) increasing by 3.5 per cent.

“To further improve the customer experience and provide convenient payment solutions, Express launched a new Shell Coles Express App in Victoria with Pay At Pump and Store Locator functionality as well as monthly c-store offers. National roll-out of the App is due to commence in the fourth quarter.

“Fuel volumes declined by 4.9 per cent during the quarter with comparable fuel volumes declining by 3.9 per cent driven by the impacts of floods, the Omicron variant, as well as the sharp rise in fuel prices due to geopolitical events in Ukraine and Russia. Average weekly volumes of 55.9mL per week were recorded.”

During the quarter, one Express site was opened and one site was closed, taking the total network to 711 sites.

Supermarkets sales revenue of $8bn for the third quarter increased by 3.9 per cent on the prior corresponding period, with comparable sales growing by 3.9 per cent. Gross retail sales of $8.2bn increased by 3.9 per cent.

Overall, in the third quarter, Group gross retail sales of $9.3bn increased by 3.9 per cent and group sales revenue of $9.1bn increased by 3.6 per cent.

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