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Retail giant Woolworths posts third quarter sales increase

Woolworths has announced impressive third quarter sales figures of $14.07 billion, an increase of 3.8 percent over the previous year.

This result was achieved despite what CEO Grant O’Brian refers to as “a tight consumer market” caused by multiple natural disasters, poor weather and accelerating deflation.

Food and liquor sales rose 2.9 percent on the previous year to $9.4 billion, Big W sales increased by 1.4 percent while Masters, the company’s new home improvement stores which opened during the third quarter, posted an almost 30 percent rise in sales.

Environmental phenomena, such as the Queensland floods, cyclone Yasi and the cool, wet weather across the eastern states, affected fruit and vegetable by accelerating deflation and impacted upon sales of ice cream, insecticides and outdoor and aquatic products.

Managing director of Australian supermarkets and petrol, Tjeerd Jegen said: “As predicted, trading conditions in the third quarter have remained challenging. However, overall we are pleased to increase market share, customer numbers and items sold”.

Toys and sporting equipment, books and cosmetics saw strong sales but it was Woolworths’ home improvement sector that achieved the largest sales increase, with chief executive officer Don Stallings reporting “overwhelmingly positive” customer feedback and plans to open more Masters stores around the country.

O’Brien said Woolworths will “continue to remain cautious particularly given consumer and business uncertainty about the impact of the carbon tax and interest rates”.