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Coles Online Growth Choking

SYDNEY: The Coles group – which scored global attention it would rather forget, following the March stampede to stock-up on toilet paper in the wake of the coronavirus – has reported a halving of its online sales in the third quarter of the financial year, as the retail giant was forced to suspend online sales amid the crush.

Numbers show Coles’ once mighty online sales growth was crimped in March after it closed the doors to its Web store and enforced purchasing limits on some product categories, while severe supply-chain strains left shelves bare for weeks.

Despite this, Coles Online still managed to pull in a 14 percent lift in supermarkets in Q3 2020, compared to stellar growth of 27 percent in Q3 2019, when the retail giant posted online sales of more than $1 billion.

Since the March debacle, it has gradually restored online services through its Coles Online Priority Service. which triages grocery basics to those most in need – and the supermarket restored full online services on April 22 after bolstering delivery and click-and-collect capacity and reorganising how it fulfils online orders.

It has also pulled in 12,000 staff for Coles’ Covid-19 response effort, with hundreds of extra customer service agents tasked to meet increased demand for online deliveries.

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