Woolworths has announced its group sales were up 10.6% to $35.8 billion in HY21. It was an even stronger story for its Endeavour Drinks business, with total sales for the half increasing by 19% to $5.7 billion.
Woolworths Group CEO, Brad Banducci, said: “I am incredibly proud of the achievements of our team during the half, which
went well beyond our financial results. We supported our customers, whether they wanted to shop in store or online, and were able to do this in a safe and convenient way. We also provided them with great value and inspiration as they spent more time at home. We employed a record number of team members over the Christmas trading period and continued our focus on
supporting our team’s mental wellbeing.
“The first half of F21 continued to be impacted by COVID, with elevated sales and higher costs as we worked to maintain a
COVIDSafe environment for our customers and team. While we have all been living in this uncertain environment now for
12 months, ongoing localised outbreaks remind us that we need to remain both vigilant and agile.
“H1 sales growth was strong across all group businesses, with the exception of Hotels, with record Christmas trading. Group
sales increased by 10.6% in H1 (Q2: +9.%) with Australian Food, BIG W and Endeavour Drinks all reporting sales growth well
above trend. In Hotels, sales trends improved over the half but growth was below the prior year due to continued
COVID-related operating restrictions.”
In Q2, total sales grew 17%, with COVID continuing to drive elevated in-home consumption and trading up, although at more moderate levels than the previous two quarters as restrictions for on-premise venues were eased. Christmas trading was described as “exceptionally strong”, with record-breaking sales in the week before Christmas in both Dan Murphy’s and BWS.
Growth in the Spirits category was a highlight for both businesses, with gin remaining a standout. RTDs also accelerated, boosted by the launch of seltzers. Wine and Beer maintained solid growth rates, supported by growth in premium wine and craft beer respectively.
Its Pinnacle brands performed strongly, particularly in Dan Murphy’s, and won numerous awards including being
named ‘Portfolio of the Year’ at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
Endeavour Drinks sales per square metre increased by 14.9%, with strong sales growth significantly exceeding net average space growth of 2.4%.
In response to COVID, Dan Murphy’s launched contactless Pick up via a number plate recognition service at its Manly Vale store, and now has 172 stores offering direct-to-boot service. Four new stores were opened in the second quarter, growing the network by five for the half to 246 stores, including a second new urban format store in Benowa, Queensland.
BWS opened 10 net new stores in the quarter, growing the network by 15 for the half to 1384 stores. BWS’ convenience offering also expanded during the half with the introduction of a contactless direct-to-boot offering, with plans to continue the rollout across the current network of 222 drive-thru stores.
There was huge eCommerce sales growth of 50.2% with eCommerce penetration increasing to 8.5%. In Q2, eCommerce sales grew 44.3% with penetration remaining stable at 8.5%. BWS and Dan Murphy’s both reported strong eCommerce growth, with BWS more than doubling in the half and record sales in both businesses in December.
Endeavour Drinks demerger back on the table
Banducci said the $10 billion spin-off of Endeavour Drinks, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, was now expected by June.
“We’re now engaging again on the demerger – in that process we’ll consider all value accretive options,” he said.
Woolworths will consider potential capital management, such as a share buyback or capital return, once it has established the right capital structure.
Woolworths gains gender equality citation
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) also announced its 2020-22 WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation holders today, with Woolworths receiving a two-year citation, joining the existing group of 119 citation holders for the 2019-21 period.
The citation recognises employer commitment and best practice in promoting gender equality in Australian workplaces.
WGEA Director, Libby Lyons said: “The EOCGE citation is recognised as a rigorous and sophisticated guide for employers to implement leading-practice initiatives designed to achieve gender equality in their workplaces.
“Despite the tremendous upheaval and disruption caused to Australian businesses by the COVID-19 pandemic, these dedicated organisations maintained an unswerving commitment to achieving their EOCGE citation.
“I want to sincerely thank and acknowledge these employers for their extraordinary efforts in these trying times. We know that gender equality is good for business and crucial to our post-COVID-19 economic recovery. By driving better gender equality outcomes in their workplaces, these EOCGE citation holders are showing the right way forward for other Australian businesses.”
To be eligible to apply for the EOCGE citation, organisations must be compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 and must meet all the EOCGE assessment criteria.
The criteria for the citation cover seven focus areas. These reflects findings from the latest academic research into drivers of improved gender equality outcomes and consultation with gender equality experts and practitioners, industry groups and employers.
- Leadership, strategy, and accountability
- Developing a gender-balanced workforce
- Gender pay equity
- Support for caring
- Mainstreaming flexible work
- Preventing gender-based harassment and discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying
- Driving change beyond your workplace
WGEA regularly strengthens its criteria to reflect best practice.