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Woolies edges out rival Coles in half-year results

Woolworths has edged out rival Coles in its half-year results, boasting more than $23 billion in sales from its Australian food businesses.

Coles, which released their results a week ago, boasted $17.8 billion in sales from supermarkets.

Woolworths Group sales, which include everything from supermarkets to Big W, Endeavour Drinks and hotels, were up 10.6 per cent to $35.8 billion.

People queue at a Woolworths in Paddington, Brisbane after January’s three-day lockdown announcement. (Matt Dennien)

Group profit after tax for the first half (the 27 weeks to January 3) came in at $1.1 billion, up 15.9 per cent on the same period last year.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said he was most proud of the group’s initiative in keeping stores open through the worst of the pandemic.

“I am incredibly proud of the achievements of our team during the half, which went well beyond our financial results,” Mr Banducci said.

“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.”

A customer selects herb products at a Woolworths. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In the group’s trading outlook, Mr Banducci said he expects sales to decline over the March to June period as supermarkets revert to normal trading outside of COVID-inspired surges.

“Turning to priorities for the second half, we will continue to accelerate digital as it becomes an ever increasingly important part of the shopping journey for our customers,” Mr Banducci said.

“We have added significant eCommerce capacity across the Group over the last year which puts us in a strong position to meet our customer’s demands.”

A staff member wipes down the checkout area at Woolworths in Marrickville Metro. (Janie Barrett)

Woolworths Group first-half FY21 at a glance:

Group Sales: $35.8 billion (up 10.6 per cent)

eCommerce Sales: $2.9 billion (up 77.9 per cent)

Group EBIT: $2 billion (up 10.5 per cent)

Group NPAT: $1.1 billion (up 15.9 per cent)

Dividend per share: 53 cents (up 15.2 per cent)

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