Wesfarmers unveiled strong results across its retail portfolio, which gradually reopened alongside the Australian and New Zealand economies.
Particular winners were Bunnings and Officeworks, with sales growth jumping to 19.2 per cent and 27.8 per cent respectively during the second-half-to-date. This can be compared to the 5.8 per cent and 11.5 per cent increase respectively in the first half.
The massive jump in sales was attributed to the impacts of lockdown meaning more people were working, learning and relaxing at home. And, because of this, Wesfarmers noted it is uncertain if the higher levels of sales growth will continue through the remainder of the year.
Similarly, the online-only Catch Group saw sales growth of 68.7 per cent during the second half, compared to 21.4 per cent in the first half of the year.
Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott said team members across the group had made significant contributions and had shown great dedication in meeting the challenges of the last few months.
“I again acknowledge and thank our team members for their incredible efforts to support each other and their communities, first during the devastating bushfires in Australia last summer and more recently through the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Scott said.
“Each of our businesses remains vigilant in prioritising the safety of team members and customers. Safety measures, including restricting the number of people in store, may at some times result in some inconvenience and we are grateful for the patience and understanding of customers.”
Kmart and Target also saw increases in sales momentum as shoppers returned to shopping centres, however weekly sales performance remained variable.
The uncertainty is part of a longer trend, particularly for Target which has traded under difficult conditions for some time and has been earmarked for conversion into its more successful stable-mate Kmart.
“For some time now, the retail sector has seen significant structural change and disruption, and we expect this trend to continue,” Scott said.
“With the exception of Target, Wesfarmers’ retail businesses are well-positioned to respond to the changes in consumers behaviour and competition associated with this disruption.”
These changes will be implemented over the next year, with the majority occurring in calendar year 2021, according to Wesfarmers.