Woolworths has reported strong sales momentum in the third quarter of 2016-17 with food sales up 5.1 per cent to $9.3 billion with comparable sales growth of 4.5 per cent (Easter adjusted).
During the same period, average prices declined by 2.5 per cent during the quarter, a similar rate of decline to Q2. The decline was largely driven by General Merchandise and Grocery, with Fruit & Vegetable prices marginally inflationary. Fruit & Vegetable volume growth remained strong, while meat prices continued to decline despite higher input cost prices.
Average prices declined by 2.5 per cent during the quarter, compared with 2.6 per cent in the previous quarter.
The supermarket said average meat prices “continued to decline” relative to the same period last year despite higher input costs.
Woolworths reported overall customer satisfaction had improved and items-per-basket growth remained positive at 4.7 per cent.
Of particular note, online sales grew strongly in the quarter increasing by approximately 20 per cent.
Woolworths Group Chief Executive Officer, Brad Banducci, said: “We are still in the early stages of our turnaround and are focused on the many opportunities we have to further improve our business for the benefit of our customers, team members, suppliers, community and shareholders.
“We are pleased with the progress we have made on our key priorities with the strong sales growth in Australian Food during the quarter a particular highlight. However, H2’17 will reflect the financial impact of higher investment in key areas, cost price increases (particularly in meat and produce) and our response to ongoing competition and promotional intensity.
Digital tools are also helping Woolworths better match its team hours to customer shopping times, after the nationwide roll-out of its new rostering tool.