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Supermarket giant Woolworths says there are signs that grocery prices are moderating but boss Brad Banducci says shoppers are still bearing the brunt of stubbornly high inflation.
Woolworths recorded an 8 per cent jump in sales to $16.3 billion for the March quarter and said while customers were increasingly hunting for value, shopping habits were remaining stable.
Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci. Credit: Natalie Boog.
The average price of goods increased by 5.8 per cent at Woolies supermarkets for the quarter, an improvement on the 7.7 per cent jump that it recorded in the second quarter thanks to improved fruit and vegetable growing conditions.
But boss Brad Banducci said the supermarket still had to work hard on its value proposition, including a greater focus on affordable proteins for shoppers.
“We’re seeing signs of overall inflation moderate in food. However, in many areas, inflation remains frustratingly elevated and we need to continue to work hard to provide our customers with great value across their shopping basket,” he said.
Like its major rival Coles, Woolworths has also seen a surge in own-brand sales growth, up 9.1 per cent for the quarter.
Some categories recorded supersized growth, including home brand pantry and chilled dairy products, which accelerated by 20 per cent for the quarter.
While budget shoppers drove the interest in home brand, even the group’s more premium in-house products recorded a jump. “At the other end of the spectrum, Macro Whole Foods Company grew at over 30 per cent,” the company said.
Woolworths’ discount department store Big W recorded a 5.7 per cent sales jump to $1.05 billion, though its clothing sales were softer than expected.
“Growth rates moderated over the quarter with apparel sales more challenged from a slow start to seasonal winter sales,” Banducci said.
The group’s e-commerce sales grew by 12.8 per cent to $1.5 billion and the company said its same-day and its “delivery now” offer, which brings groceries to consumers in under 2 hours, were both growing strongly.
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