Healthy appetite for Woolworths food offsets Covid-19 pressure

Division experienced a surge in online activity and delivered market share gains

25 January 2021 - 09:19 By Karl Gernetzky
Woolworths Food sales rose 10.9% and online sales 158.5% despite trading conditions across the group continuing to be affected by Covid-19. File photo
Woolworths Food sales rose 10.9% and online sales 158.5% despite trading conditions across the group continuing to be affected by Covid-19. File photo
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Robust demand in Woolworths’ food division helped offset pressure related to Covid-19 in Australia and its fashion business in the last half of 2020, the retail group reports.

Woolworths Food experienced a surge in online activity and delivered market share gains, the group said in a trading update for the 26 weeks ended December 27, when group sales rose 5.3% in actual currency terms.

Woolworths Food sales rose 10.9% and online sales 158.5% despite trading conditions across the group continuing to be affected by Covid-19, the update reads.

Woolworths said it had still experienced significantly reduced store footfall, particularly in larger shopping centres and central business district locations, and sales in Woolworths Fashion, Beauty and Home fell 11.2%. This was partially due to a weak Black Friday spend and generally lower demand for formal wear.

David Jones sales over the 26-week period declined 8.8%, while Country Road experienced a 5.2% fall, both affected by a 12-week lockdown in the state of Victoria.

The rand was weaker against the Australian dollar during the period under review, and Woolworths said its group sales in constant-currency terms fell 0.5% in the six months to December 26.

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