Wesfarmers online sales shoot up during COVID-19 restrictions

Wesfarmers online sales shoot up during COVID-19 restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to be a bountiful period for retail giant Wesfarmers (ASX: WES), with sales up across almost every one of the company's brands over the last five months.

The company attributes its continued success to the strong positions its brands hold in a variety of consumer segments that have generally performed well during the period of COVID-19 restrictions this year.

Of note, online has been increasingly important for Wesfarmers; the company's retail businesses delivered total online sales growth of 89 per cent in the first five months of the year.

On a financial year to date basis, total online sales across the group increased 60 per cent to $1.4 billion (or $1.9 billion if Catch is included).

In particular Wesfarmers says significant demand growth was witnessed at Bunnings and Officeworks as customers continue to spend more time at home, whether they be working or relaxing. But these COVID-19 trends could just be a temporary sales boost.

"Sales growth in the calendar year to date has increased significantly relative to the levels achieved in the first half of the financial year," says Wesfarmers.

"Given the significant changes to the usual customer shopping patterns and expected future changes to government measures, it is uncertain whether the high levels of sales growth will continue for the remainder of the calendar year."

Overall, effectively every one of Wesfarmers brands saw positive sales growth in the first five months of 2020, with the company's ecommerce arm Catch proving to be the standout segment in terms of growth, with sales up 68.7 per cent so far this year.

Officeworks, Bunnings and Kmart also recorded positive sales momentum in the first five months up 27.8 per cent, 19.2 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

Target was the only Wesfarmers brand that saw sales go down during the period, demonstrating further why the company is planning on transforming to 40 large format Target stores and 52 Target Country stores into Kmart stores.

Now, with the easing of trading restrictions in New Zealand and north-western Tasmania, the company's managing director Rob Scott (pictured) has celebrated Wesfarmers' retail networks returning to full operation.

"Each of our businesses remains vigilant in prioritising the safety of team members and customers," says Scott.

"Safety measures, including restricting the number of people in store, may at times result in some inconvenience and we are grateful for the patience and understanding of customers."

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