Coles has reported its first half year results, with group sales revenue increasing by 8.1 per cent to $20.4 billion, while Express comparable sales grew by 9.9 per cent.

C-store sales revenue was $632 million for the first half, an increase of 10.5 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

For the second quarter, c-store sales revenue increased by 10.4 per cent and comparable c-store sales growth was 9.6 per cent relative to the prior corresponding period.

The recovery from initial COVID-19 restrictions continued to progress with fuel volumes improving in the second quarter across all states.

Coles said: “Sales growth was driven by the drinks category, supported by recent investments in fridges and targeted range reviews in healthier drink alternatives, as well as strong forecourt and tobacco sales.

“Sales growth was also supported by improved momentum in Victoria following the easing of Government imposed COVID-19 restrictions.

“During the half, a network wide roll out of new self-service coffee machines was largely completed, with the improved customer offer driving a strong uplift in coffee sales.

“Express’ high quality and Rainforest Alliance Certified Urban Coffee Culture blend also won five awards at the international Golden Bean Competition, making it the most awarded single coffee offer at the competition.”

Fuel volumes declined by 13.8 per cent during the half with comparable fuel volumes declining by 14.9 per cent. Average weekly fuel volumes of 55.5mL per week were recorded during the half.

For the second quarter, average weekly fuel volumes improved to 58.4mL per week, growing by 12 per cent quarter-on-quarter with improvements in all states, particularly Victoria following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Coles said: “CODB as a percentage of sales improved by 541 bps to 45.8 per cent as a result of a strong focus on cost control throughout the half. Gross margin decreased by 532 bps to 50.9 per cent largely due to declining fuel volumes and lower fuel margin income.

“Strong c-store sales and favourable mix supported an increase in Express EBIT by 14.3 per cent for the half to $32 million with EBIT margin increasing by nine bps to five per cent.”

During the half, 12 new sites were opened and two closed, taking the total network to 723 sites.

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