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Coles ‘cautiously optimistic’ over progress of liquor business

 

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The managing director of Coles, John Durkan, has said the company’s liquor business is ‘cautiously optimistic’ after reporting five consecutive quarters of comparable growth.

Durkan was speaking during the Wesfarmers half-year result, which saw the company as a whole report a 15.1 per cent increase in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to $2.42bn and a profit increase of 13.2 per cent to $1.57bn.

For the Coles division, EBIT fell by 2.6 per cent to $920m. The first half of the year saw Coles’ food and liquor revenue increase by 2.3 per cent to $16.87bn.

Speaking about the result and specifically about the liquor business, Durkan said: “The liquor business continues to execute its transformation plan, with positive momentum driving its fifth quarter of positive comparable sales growth.

“The business remains cautiously optimistic as customers continue to respond well to the changes implemented thus far. Over the half we continued to optimise the quality of the liquor network, closing six underperforming stores and opening 13 new ones.”

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He added: “The Liquor Market trial within the First Choice business is still in its early stages. We will expand the trial and will continue to monitor its progress before deciding on our next steps. Whilst there are encouraging early signs there’s still significant opportunity within our liquor business.

“Our focus is on executing these opportunities, whilst maintaining the positive customer momentum that we have generated to date.”

Speaking about the outlook for the liquor business through the rest of 2017, Durkan added: “We will continue to progress the transformation, there remains significant opportunities within the business and the team remains focused on delivering our five-year plan.”

This story originally appeared on The Shout.

 

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