Australia’s Woolworths sales jump about 10% on stockpiling, rising costs By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk past a Woolworths supermarket following the easing of restrictions implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia, June 16, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

(Reuters) – Australian grocer Woolworths Group on Tuesday reported a near 10% jump in third-quarter sales, benefiting from consumer stockpiling in the early part of the quarter as well as rising inflation and input costs.

While the country’s largest supermarket chain faced COVID-19 related labour shortages and supply chain disruptions owing to floods during the quarter, increased consumer spending and surging costs boosted sales.

Inflation in Australia surged at the fastest annual pace in two decades last quarter as petrol, home building and food costs climbed, in tandem with rising costs across the world, which is resulting in higher input costs for businesses.

Woolworths’ sales on continuing operations basis came in at A$15.12 billion ($10.66 billion) for the three months ending April 3, up from A$13.79 billion logged a year ago.

The grocer’s biggest segment, Australian Food, saw a 5.4% rise in sales to A$11.43 billion in the quarter. Comparable sales for the division were also up 4.4%.

Smaller rival Coles last week said it hopes improved stock availability will curtail racing inflation as it reported a slight uptick in its third-quarter sales, but warned soaring supply costs would trouble the economy for another year.

($1 = 1.4186 Australian dollars)

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