Wesfarmers sales rise 4.7% in first half: Midday roundup

Wesfarmers’ supermarket giant Coles has recorded a 4.7% increase in sales during the first half of the year to $18.3 billion, the company announced this morning.

In the second quarter of the year, sales rose 5.2% to $9.896 billion, with food and liquor sales rising 5% during that same period to $14.3 billion.

Sales at Bunnings and Officeworks also saw sales increased 4.9% from the previous corresponding period.

Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder said the results were pleasing – especially for Coles, Bunnings and Kmart.

“The retail businesses continue to improve their customer offers, with record numbers of shoppers visiting our stores during the Christmas period,” he said.

He also referenced the ongoing price war between Coles and Woolworths, citing a fall of 0.9% among 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.

Australian shares hit 21-month high

The Australian sharemarket has hit a 21-month high in trading this morning, despite a mixed Wall Street lead.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 13.8 points or 0.8% to 4902.8 at 12.00 AEST, while in the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 72.5 points or 0.5% to 13,954.4.

Australia counts two new billionaires

Australia has two new billionaires, according to a new report from Forbes ahead of its annual list of Australia’s 50 richest people.

Gambling technology entrepreneur Len Ainsworth has now passed the $1 billion mark, according to the publication, while John Van Lieshout has also made the list after selling his Super A-Mart chain in 2006.

The full list is set for publication tomorrow.

 

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