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Coles sales up in first half of year


Wesfarmers has lifted sales in all its retail businesses in the first half of the financial year, with the strongest growth coming from Coles and Bunnings.

Sales at Coles in the six months to December 31 were $18.3 billion, up 4.7 per cent from the same period in the previous year.

Sales at Bunnings and Office Works in the six months to December were $4.7 billion, up 4.9 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

"The retail businesses continue to improve their customer offers, with record numbers of shoppers visiting our stores during the Christmas period," Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder said in a statement.

Coles' price war with its rival Woolworths continued throughout the quarter driving volume growth ahead of sales revenue growth.

Falls in food and liquor prices for the second quarter moderated to 0.9 per cent reflected lower fresh produce prices.

"The response to our initiatives has been encouraging, with a record number of customers and almost $1 billion of sales achieved in the week leading up to Christmas," Coles managing director Ian McLeod said.

Coles opened 10 supermarkets and closed four during the quarter, taking the number of stores to 753.

Managing director of home improvement and office supplies John Gillam said Bunnings increased its sales in both consumer and commercial areas.

"We continue to make good progress on our key strategic priorities delivering better service, improving our consumer and commercial offers, expanding the store network, optimising the supply chain and reducing our cost of doing business," Mr Gillam said.

"Collectively, this is positioning the business well for the longer term."

Kmart's first-half sales increased 3.5 per cent on the previous corresponding period, to $2.4 billion.

Kmart managing director Guy Russo said the chain had continued its growth in transactions and units sold.

"The focus on driving volume and improving our operational execution resulted in good performance in stores across Australia and New Zealand," he said.