Woolworths Group’s first-half profit surged 37.6 per cent to $969 million as the group moves from “turnaround to transformation”.
Announcing the group’s half-year results, CEO Brad Banducci said: “We’ve seen some early signs of this transformation with good progress on a number of strategic initiatives and pleasing sales growth from all of our businesses. We remain committed to our focus on building a customer and store-led culture and team with a highlight in the half being the continued improvement in customer, team and supplier advocacy scores across the Woolworths Group.”
In Woolworths’ Australian food division, despite beginning to cycle some more challenging prior-year numbers, sales increased by 5.1 per cent with a strong second quarter (comparables sales: plus five per cent). EBIT increased by 11.1 per cent due to strong sales and continued improvement in stock loss, despite investment in key strategic initiatives such as digital, incremental team training and IT, as well as higher depreciation costs.
Woolworths supermarkets’ sales growth continues to be driven by increased customer advocacy with a record store-controllable VOC (voice of customer) score of 84 per cent in December and customer transaction growth of 5.3 per cent for the half.
In FoodCo and Metro, the group substantially completed the rebranding and reformulation of its core Woolworths brand and maintained strong sales growth from its own brands in the half. Metro delivered strong double-digit sales growth.
WooliesX completed the rollout of Pick Up to more than 1,000 Australian sites while significantly improving customer satisfaction. Online sales grew strongly in the half, while Woolworths Rewards members reached 10.5 million by the end of half with improving underlying customer scan rates.
“In summary, we’ve continued to build on the momentum from the second half of FY17 and I’d like to thank our team for its passion, hard work and commitment,” Mr Banducci said. “For the remainder of the year, we’re focused on delivering consistently good customer shopping experiences across all stores and days of the week, embedding current strategic initiatives, and continuing our investment in digital and data.”