Woolworths boss rules out fewer stores as digital sales boom

woolworths boss rules out fewer stores as digital sales boom

“Eighty per cent will be done in a store, packed into the boot of a car,” he said. “The shape of our stores will change, what our team do in-store will also change, but our stores will be relevant for a very long time to come.”

However, Mr Banducci said he didn’t expect it to be long before digital visits exceeded physical ones at the company’s stores.

On Wednesday Woolworths revealed a strong half-yearly result, including a near-doubling of its online sales to $1.8 billion, or 7.7 per cent of total sales.

Woolworths has outperformed Coles in the early stages of 2021. Credit:Getty

Total sales across the group – which encompasses Woolworths supermarkets, department store Big W and the BWS and Dan Murphy’s drinks retailers – rose 10.6 per cent to $35.8 billion. Earnings jumped 30 per cent to $1.13 billion, slightly ahead of analyst expectations.

The retailer also said it would push ahead with the demerger of its $10 billion Endeavour Drinks division in June, after it was shelved for 12 months due to the pandemic.

Sales for the first seven weeks of the second half soared, rising 7 per cent on a comparable basis, outstripping the 3.3 per cent growth reported by rival Coles last week.

Mr Banducci said while some of the company’s strong start could be attributed to Woolworths’ new year sales being compared against the weaker bushfire-affected period from the start of 2020, online sales and fewer Australians travelling overseas had also helped…

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