Woolworths online food sales jump 118% in a year

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Woolworths says its online food sales grew by 117.9% in the 52 weeks ended 27 June.

The retailer, which provided an update on its recent financial performance, says online is an increasingly important channel and it will continue to innovate in this area.

The surge comes on the back of growing e-commerce business in the country, which reached a tipping point in 2020, as result of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

“Online sales grew by 117.9% over the current year, contributing 2.3% to our South African food sales. This was further supported by the expanded click-and-collect offering and the roll out of our on-demand delivery service, Woolies Dash,” says Woolworths.

The retailer launched the Woolies Dash same day delivery service in December, to rival similar services offered by the competition, particularly the Checkers Sixty60 service.

In the period under review, the company says the Woolworths food business grew market share and volumes despite the high base set in the prior year driven by stockpiling ahead of the first lockdown.

“Sales for the current year grew by 6.9%, and by 5.7% in comparable stores, on price movement of 5.2% and underlying product inflation of 4.9%. Net space increased by 0.6%. Sales in the second half of the current year grew by 3.2%, and by 16.9% over a two-year period, reflective of the investment in innovation and our robust business model.”

It adds that while there has been some reversion in customer shopping behaviour, frozen foods and groceries continue to deliver strong growth.

However, it says, due to the continued COVID-19-related trading restrictions, trade in cafes, and wine and beverages, remain negatively impacted.

“We continue to invest in price in key product categories to improve our value proposition, while remaining focused on product quality, innovation and convenience.”

Turning to the impact of last week’s riots on its business, Woolworths says all of its stores in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), as well as a number of stores in Gauteng, had to temporarily close, prioritising the safety of employees and customers.

“Our online delivery services and certain suppliers in those areas are also significantly affected, given significant damage to their assets.

“Eleven Woolworths stores have been looted and severely damaged, with nine of the 11 stores in KZN and two in Gauteng. Although looters gained entry to the Woolworths Maxmead Distribution Centre (DC) in KZN, the infrastructure was not severely damaged and has been secured, together with our other DCs. Operations have resumed and we have prioritised the provision of food into KZN.”

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