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Bunnings, Officeworks And Catch Fuel Wesfarmers COVID Success

Bunnings and Officeworks have delivered strong results for Wesfarmers to start the financial year, with each growing around a quarter in the year to date.

Bunnings, Wesfarmers’ biggest business, posted 25.2 per cent sales growth in the four months ending October 31, with Officeworks not far behind at 23.4 per cent.

Customers taking the opportunity to work on home renovations fuelled Bunnings’ growth over the period, with a similar surge in demand for technology and home office furniture buoying Officeworks.

Kmart sales have crept up 3.7 per cent, with home, office, and kids categories performing well despite a decline in apparel. There has also been a huge leap for Catch of 114 per cent, up from 49.2 per cent in 2019-20.

Rob Scott, MD of Wesfarmers, says the company’s retail businesses have shown solid results despite the recent uncertainty created by COVID-19.

“Despite the challenging operating environment, the results across the Group’s retail businesses reflect their continued focus on meeting the changing needs of customers and delivering greater value, quality and convenience while providing safe and trusted environments for customers to shop,” he said.

Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdowns hit Wesfarmers’ retail sales in the state; however, with the lifting of restrictions, the group has made a swift turnaround, said Scott.

“The trading restrictions in Melbourne were difficult for team members and customers, and it is encouraging to see progress with the reopening of stores over recent weeks.

“As a result of significant pent-up demand, the trading performance across stores in Melbourne has been very strong since they re-opened to retail customers on 28 October 2020,” he said.

Target was the one disappointing spot, declining by 2.2 per cent over the period. Target MD Marina Joanou has stepped down, with 20-year retail veteran Richard Pearson moving over from Kmart to replace her.

Online sales across Wesfarmers’ omni-channel retail businesses (Bunnings, Officeworks, Kmart, and Target) have increased by 166 per cent since the beginning of the financial year, excluding online-only outlet Catch, which the group acquired in July 2019.

Catch had 2.7 million active customers at the end of October, compared with 2.46 million for rival Kogan.com at the end of August.

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