Countdown half-year earnings fall

Countdown WaihekeSupermarket Countdown has posted an EBIT of $148 million over the first half of FY19, slightly below the $151 million seen over the same period of FY18.

Sales for the half landed at $3.4 billion, a 1.9 per cent increase on the previous corresponding period, while comparable sales over the half grew 3.2 per cent.

“Sales growth for the half was strong although it slowed in the second quarter, with December the most challenging month of the half, impacted by lower market growth,” Woolworths chief executive Brand Banducci said

“EBIT was marginally below the prior year with higher CODB due to investments in establishing CountdownX. Online sales continued to grow strongly at 40.3 per cent with sales penetration of 6.5 per cent.”

The removal of single-use plastic bags from all Countdown stores has led to an improved consumer perception, alongside the brand’s new “We can help with that”platform, which has led to higher customer satisfaction.

Countdown’s parent company Woolworths Group reported a 1 per cent lift in first-half profit to $1.02 billion (AU$979 million), seeing comparable food sales grow 2.3 per cent in the half-year. Across the full group, which owns supermarkets, liquor services, department stores, and hotels across Australia and New Zealand, these results failed to meet group expectations, said Banducci.

“We made progress in a number of important areas and are confident that if we remain focused on our key priorities, we will continue to transform our business for the benefit of all of our stakeholders,” Banducci added.

Banducci credited the supermarket segment’s customer-first culture for continued strong customer metrics.

Total sales grew 2.3 per cent to $31.88 billion (AU$30.59 billion) and EBIT increased by 1.0 per cent, with a strong underlying customer shift to online during the half.

Authors: Ruth Hogan, Dean Blake.

This is an edited version of a story that originally appeared on sister site Inside FMCG.

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