Australia markets closed

Sales are up at Officeworks and Bunnings, as more Aussies shop online through the coronavirus pandemic

Sharon Masige
  • Sales have been strong at Officeworks and Bunnings as Aussies continue working and learning from home.
  • Parent company Wesfarmers highlighted an 89% growth in online sales among its retail businesses during the calendar year to date.
  • During the financial year, sales grew 60% to $1.4 billion. In conjunction with sales at Catch, it adds up to $1.9 billion.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Business has been booming at Officeworks and Bunnings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parent company Wesfarmers – which also owns Kmart Group, Target and online retailer Catch – said its retail businesses saw an 89% growth in online sales during the calendar year to date, as the coronavirus pandemic led a number of Aussies to work from home. In the financial year, online sales rose 60% to $1.4 billion. When you add online sales from Catch, that rises to $1.9 billion.

However, Wesfarmers doubts that this growth will continue into the rest of the year as government restrictions continue to ease.

Wesfarmers' sales growth was particularly pronounced at Officeworks and Bunnings, as many Aussies continue to work and learn from home. At Officeworks, there was a high demand for home office furniture, technology and education products.

While Bunnings had a strong sales performance, it invested $20 million in extra cleaning, protective equipment and security amid the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, in the 2020 financial year, Bunnings is going to incur $70 million in costs because of trading restrictions in New Zealand, the closure of 7 small stores and the rollout of its online offering.

Catch experienced a rise in sales, as well as a boost in Club Catch subscriptions.

Sales at Kmart and Target have started gaining momentum, with a rise in customer foot traffic in shopping centres and demand returning for apparel, especially winter clothing. But Kmart Group's earnings will also be affected by coronavirus-related costs and the temporary closure of New Zealand stores.

Target's improvement comes after its struggling performance during the pandemic, as its earnings "decreased significantly" while Kmart remained profitable. Following a review, Wesfarmers decided to convert between 10 and 40 Target and Target Country stores into Kmarts. It will also close between 10 and 25 Target stores and 50 Target Country stores.

Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott said in a statement it was good to see the economy gradually reopening as coronavirus-related safety measures continue.

"Each of our businesses remains vigilant in prioritising the safety of team members and customers," he said. "Safety measures, including restricting the number of people in store, many at times result in some inconvenience and we are grateful for the patience and understanding of our customers."