Wesfarmers’ retail businesses have buoyed the group over the past four months, with online sales from Bunnings and Officeworks soaring as consumers spend more time at home.
That’s thanks to strong demand for technology, home office products and household hardware, as consumers work from home and undertake home projects.
Meanwhile, Kmart sales were up 3.7 per cent but Target experienced a 2.2 per cent drop.
Excluding online sales in Melbourne, which were significantly elevated due to COVID-19 restrictions, online sales across the retail businesses had grown by 98 per cent.
Together, Wesfarmers’ retail businesses delivered online sales growth of 166 per cent – or 98 per cent, excluding online sales from metropolitan Melbourne, which were significantly elevated due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Both results exclude online retailer Catch, which had sales growth of about 114 per cent.
The business, acquired by Wesfarmers mid-last year for $230 million, stocks branded products at discounted prices.
It had 2.7 million active customers at the end of October, Wesfarmers said, compared with 2.3 million at the end of June 30.
Managing director Rob Scott said the group’s businesses had responded well to challenges presented by COVID-19.
“Despite the challenging operating environment, the result across the group’s retail businesses reflect their continued focus on meeting the changing needs of customers and delivering greater value, quality and convenience while providing safe and trusted environments for customers to shop,” he said.
Costs incurred for providing a COVID-safe environment had reached about $23 million, Mr Scott said, with a further $15 million expected per quarter.
He said there were further costs associated with paid pandemic leave.
Wesfarmers shares were up 2.7 per cent at 1:00pm AEDT to trade at $48.87.