Economy

Officeworks off to strong start in 2017/18

Officeworks off to strong start in 2017/18”

Mr Scott said he was talking to investors and analysts about potentially discontinuing the company's quarterly sales updates, after unveiling on Wednesday an ongoing slowdown in Coles' first-quarter sales.

Falling sales at Wesfarmers' Bunnings businesses in the United Kingdom and Ireland have prompted analysts to voice concerns about the conglomerate's foray into the United Kingdom home improvement market.

In the home improvement sector, Bunnings' Australian operations continued to benefit from the Masters' collapse, boosting total sales by more than 11 per cent both over the quarter and on a year ago.

"There's no way that you would have expected to be in this position that you are in - in a very troubled market in the United Kingdom - with 250 Homebase stores that are going backwards".

"We are not happy with the performance of the Homebase stores", Mr Goyder said.

Officeworks sales were up in-store and online.

Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd. said food and liquor sales at its Coles grocery chain grew 1.5% in the first quarter of the fiscal year, but that a decline in food prices accelerated.

The growth rate reflected "an acceleration in supply-driven fresh produce deflation during the period, particularly in soft vegetables", Wesfarmers said in a statement.

Wesfarmers said food and liquor prices fell 2.3% in the first quarter, largely due to fresh produce, compared with a 0.8% decline in the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year.

Bunnings' UK and Ireland sales were attributed to continued poor performance at the recently acquired Homebase hardware store, while Wesfarmers experiments with rolling out pilot versions of its own Bunnings stores. At the Bengalla mine, Wesfarmers' share of steaming coal production fell 6.6% quarter-on-quarter.



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