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SYDNEY, April 18 Australia's Wesfarmers Ltd
said on Thursday its Coles supermarkets posted improved
quarterly sales results, driven by strong volume growth and
competitive grocery prices.
Comparable food and liquor sales at Coles, which make up
about half of revenue at the retail-to-coal company, rose 5.3
percent for the fiscal third quarter from a year earlier.
The result compared with a 3.9 percent rise in the second
quarter, and beat a 3.8 percent rise at bigger rival Woolworths
in the March quarter.
"Coles achieved its sixteenth consecutive quarter of growth
in comparable sales and sales density," Wesfarmers managing
director Richard Goyder said in a statement, citing strong
volume growth and competitive grocery prices.
Coles and Woolworths, which control almost 80 percent of
Australia's supermarket sector, have been competing to lure
shoppers by slashing prices of basic items such as milk and
Coles opened four new supermarkets and closed three
supermarkets during the quarter, taking the total number of
supermarkets to 754, the company said.
Australian retail sales, which have been boosted by
record-low interest rates, surged in February by the most in
three years, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
showed earlier this month.
Comparabale sales at Wesfarmers' home improvement chain
Bunnings rose 4.0 percent for the quarter, while same-store
sales at discounter Target grew 1.9 percent. Kmart sales grew
Wesfarmers' shares rose 1.0 percent in early trade to
A$42.29 after the results, compared with a 0.5 fall in the
(Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Richard Pullin)