Woolworths has announced a comparable food sales growth of 4.9 per cent in the first three months of the 2018 financial year.
The supermarket giant said its sales in the 14 weeks to October 1 2017 totalled $9.6 billion.
The growth comes despite a 2.4 per cent price deflation on fruit and vegetables during the quarter.
Major price reductions in key fresh produce lines such as tomatoes and berries were due to favourable growing conditions
Excluding fresh produce, average prices declined by 1.2 per cent.
Woolworths performing stronger than Coles
Woolworths remains in a battle for market share with its main competitor, the Wesfarmers owned Coles.
With the discount German chain Aldi increasing its presence in Australia and e-commerce giant Amazon’s arrival imminent, Woolworths will be encouraged by these recent results.
Coles last week posted a 0.3 per cent sales growth figure over the same period.
These latest figures from Woolworths continue on from the strong run the company experienced in 2017.
Woolworths reported a 4.5 per cent rise in Australian food sales to $36.37 billion over the last year.
The fourth quarter produced the strongest growth, at 7.2 per cent.
Woolworths Chief Executive Officer Brad Banducci says the good sales momentum from the second half of 2017 continued into 2018.
“While we are pleased with the progress during the quarter, there remains much more to do with our focus now firmly on the important Christmas trading period,” Banducci said.
Strong performance of online sales
An increased emphasis on online sales has seen double-digit growth in this area in both Australia and New Zealand.
This has been assisted by the rollout of Pick Up in all Woolworths and Countdown supermarkets.
Woolworths’ key marketing campaigns, ‘Price Dropped’ and ‘Always’ added 290 products since year end, taking its total offering to approximately 3,800.
Woolworths ended the quarter with 1,003 supermarkets and Metro stores.
They opened five supermarkets and completed the conversion of its three remaining Thomas Dux stores to Metro, taking Metro’s total to 28 stores.
Seven store renewals and 11 upgrades were also completed during the quarter.