Wesfarmers reports Q2 same-store sales growth of 3.7%, less than average forecast of 4.6% growth; total food and liquor sales at its Coles grocery chain rose 4.3% to AU$7.3B

LOS ANGELES , February 2, 2012 () – On Jan. 26, Wesfarmers Limited, one of the largest retail companies in Australia, reported a second quarter same-store sales growth of 3.7%, less than the 4.6% average growth forecast provided by six analysts surveyed by Reuters, Reuters reported Feb. 1.

During this period, total food and liquor sales at Wesfarmers’ Coles grocery chain rose 4.3% to AU$7.3 billion (US$7.83 billion), outpacing a sales growth of 1.1% at rival grocery chain Woolworths.

Together, Woolworths and Coles control 80% of the Australian supermarket sector.

At Coles, prices of food and liquor decreased 2.4% during the second quarter. During the first quarter, price of food and liquor decreased 1.8%.

In a bid to attract customers, both Coles and Woolworths have been slashing prices on basic staples like bread and milk.

According to David Spry, a research manager at broker FW Holst & Co. Pty Ltd., prices are likely to keep falling over the next six to 12 months.

During the second-quarter, Wesfarmers' Bunnings home improvement chain experienced a same-store sales growth of 3.2%, outpacing both Kmart Inc. and Target Corp., which, respectively, saw same-stores sales decline 2.7% and 3.1% during this period.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, on Feb. 1, 2012.

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