Why we’re all suddenly going online to get our fix from Woolies

Woolworths has produced astonishing growth in its eCommerce channel that accounted for $1.3 billion in sales in the third quarter.

Apr 29, 2021, updated Apr 29, 2021
Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci . (File image)

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci . (File image)

In its Australian food and WooliesX business, eCommerce sales increased by 90 per cent to $878 million for the quarter with penetration of about 8 per cent, almost double that of the same time last year.

Even with the huge demand for eCommerce caused by COVID-19 restrictions last year, Woolworths said eCommerce would still have accounted for 70 per cent growth and the huge growth came as overall sales for its Australian foods business fell.

Group sales for the quarter were up slightly to $16.5 billion.

Chief executive Brad Banducci said the quarter had two distinct periods which were impacted by last year’s COVID-inspired panic shopping.

He said group sales rose for the first seven weeks but food and drinks sales fell away for the final six weeks compared with last year.

“In general, customer shopping behaviours continue to normalise,” Banducci said.

“While food cusomters are still shopping less frequently the growth in the number of items customers put in their baskets is slowing.

“Customers are also shopping more on weekends, state-based performance is becoming more balanced and there is less divergence in trading across the fleet, other than in CBD and transit locations.”

He said for the first three weeks of April, trading was volatile and impacted by last year’s growth rates as well as public holidays.

Total sales in Australian food were flat. Endeavour Drinks sales were above last year but that would slow because last year there was a 30 per cent increase in May and June as pubs closed because of restrictions.

Woolworths also announced it had scrapped plans for the development of a Dan Murphy’s alcohol store in Darwin after a public outcry.

The planned store’s site bordered an Aboriginal community.

Chairman Gordon Cairns said a review of the project by Danny Gilbert made it clear the company had not done enough to live up to best practice engagement.

“In particular, we did not do enough stakeholder engagement with a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations,” Cairns said.






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