Woolworths, one of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, has announced profits of $907 million in its half-yearly results. This comes amid rising inflation and a significant increase in grocery prices for customers. Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci attributed the positive results to improving the customer shopping experience, restoring operating rhythm, and a reduction in COVID costs compared to the prior year.
“Despite continued supply chain challenges during the half, most customer metrics improved. Cost-of-living pressures are being felt by our customers due to industry-wide inflation, and helping all our customers get their Woolies worth remains our number one priority,” Banducci said.
The total sales for Woolworths Group, which includes supermarkets, Metro stores, and Big W, was $33.2 billion for the first half of the 2022/23 financial year, up 4% from the previous year. Total profits were up by 14% to $907 million, which was $291 million more than Coles’ total profits in their half-yearly results.
Customers at both Woolworths and Coles have been affected by price increases, with food inflation rising by 7.7% on average in the second quarter. Woolworths reported that long-life prices saw the most significant rises, while some fruit and vegetable prices moderated as supply improved. Inflation in fresh produce was driven by commodity price increases in poultry and dairy products.
Woolworths acknowledged that the next six to 12 months would present a challenging economic environment, and cost-of-living pressures would continue. However, the company has promised to continue delivering affordable prices to customers. Despite the inflationary rises in grocery costs, Woolworths recorded $24.4 billion in Australian food sales.
The rise in grocery prices amid inflationary pressures is a cause for concern for many Australian households. However, as Banducci noted, Woolworths’ focus on improving the customer shopping experience and delivering affordable prices will help to mitigate some of these pressures.