Woolworths achieved an additional $1.
8 billion in sales during the final six months of 2013, as its supermarkets continued to attract more customers.
The retail giant sold $31.8 billion worth of goods in its supermarkets, petrol stations, hotels and Big W and hardware stores during the six months to December 31, which is up six per cent from just over $30 billion for the same period a year ago.
Sales from the company’s Australian supermarkets and bottle shops, including the Dan Murphy’s chain, rose nearly five per cent to $21.5 billion.
Customer numbers, and the average size of their purchases, had increased during the six month period, chief executive Grant O’Brien said.
Woolworths is working to achieve similar sales growth in the second half of the 2013/14 financial year, he said.
“We are pleased with where the food and liquor is at and we’re working hard to make sure we continue that momentum for the full year,” Mr O’Brien said.
Woolworths shares were up 64 cents, or 1.9, at $34.56 at 1439 AEDT.
The retail giant achieved solid sales gains in its home improvement, petrol and hotels divisions during the six months, but Big W was its weakest performer.
The department store achieved only a 0.2 per cent gain in sales, despite the opening of new stores during the half year.
Mr O’Brien said the company’s efforts to reposition Big W and improve its performance, by shrinking or exiting some product categories, had hurt sales.
“We have said before that that repositioning of the Big W business will have an effect on sales and it has,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Generally, we’d like to have seen stronger sales in Big W but that’s not the case, it’s been quite patchy.”
Woolworths also announced online sales across the group had topped $1 billion for the first time, which was a 40 per cent improvement compared to a year ago.
The company opened seven new Masters stores over the six month period, and plans to open 11 more in the second half of the financial year as it battles with Bunnings for a major share in the home improvement sector.