A trading update from Woolies this week, and it’s not the picture of ebullience and bonhomie we’d like to see, with turnover, they say, declining -4.5% for the 20 weeks through the middle of November. Sales here in the Beloved Country were not too bad, considering: the Food business grew turnover +3.2%, and in a significant switcheroo, Fashion, Beauty and Home grew sales +7.4%. Speaking of roos, sales Down Under disappointed, dropping by -17% at David Jones and -5.9% at Country Road as the Australian and New Zealand governments imposed lockdowns that impacted the bricks and mortar stores which make up 70% of turnover in those benighted regions. Back home again, and online sales grew by +26.4% over the 20 weeks in question, as the same-day Woolies Dash delivery service kicked into gear. The Dapper One does warn, however, that it is not entirely sanguine about prospects for the festive season, which, it says, may be weighed down by such factors as low vaccination rates, the possibility of a COVID-19 fourth wave, and ongoing power outages.
Comment: Sobering stuff. But good news on the clothing front, and online is looking promising.