Woolworths Limited’s food and liquor sales have increased 0.4 per cent to $10.7 billion for the third quarter. Following the sales result the supermarket giant has also announced plans to invest a further $150 million in price, customer service and loyalty as part of its long term growth strategy.
Average prices compared to the same quarter for the company last year were down 2.4 per cent, driven predominantly by the company’s investment in grocery prices. Excluding tobacco, average prices were down 3.5 per cent.
Aggressive competitor price activity, particularly in fresh, saw the company increase investment in April with the announcement of a number of store wide price drops with a focus on bakehouse and bread.
New store openings during the quarter included one Woolworths supermarket and a reduction of three Thomas Dux stores bringing the totals to 977 and six respectively.
Petrol sales for the quarter of $1.1 billion were 8.8 per cent below the prior year impacted by a 8.1 per cent reduction in average fuel sell prices to 110.3 cpl.
Comparable sales (dollars) decreased 10.9 per cent (10.8 per cent Easter adjusted) and comparable volumes decreased 3.2 per cent (2.9 per cent Easter adjusted). Premium fuels and diesel continued to show strong growth offset by lower grade fuels and LPG.
Woolworths said comparable volumes were impacted by a significant number of competitor canopy openings despite competitive pricing.
Merchandise sales slowed with sales growth of 3.6 per cent and comparable merchandise sales of 1.1 per cent as we cycled strong promotional activity in the prior year. Woolworths opened two petrol canopies during the quarter bringing the total to 523.
Five year growth strategy
Mr Banducci said: “Getting our customers to put us first is our priority and good progress has been made on delivering better prices and improved service to our customers. We are also embedding a customer and store team culture across our group.