SYDNEY, AAP – Shoppers have been packing their trolleys with more groceries – and alcohol – in the first three months of the year, in a trend that has lifted sales and revenue at supermarket chain Coles.

The listed company, formerly a part of conglomerate Wesfarmers, reported a 3.9 per cent increase in retail sales in the quarter to $9.3 billion, compared to the same period last year.

Sales revenue rose by 3.6 per cent to $9.1 billion, according to the company’s third-quarter sales results released on Thursday, due to a lift in customer purchases across its supermarket and liquor businesses.

The result comes amid extremely volatile trading conditions for retail stores due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic and widespread flooding.

The Omicron wave greatly disrupted staffing at Coles early in the year, according to its quarterly report.


Top Australian Brokers


Pandemic-related costs peaked at about $30 million in January, driven by staff isolation requirements in stores and distribution centres, and costs linked to virus testing.

Despite the disruptions, supermarkets and some other retail companies, including electronics and entertainment suppliers, have made increased sales during the pandemic, lifting their revenue and share prices.

Coles said in a statement it was closely managing ongoing disruptions from COVID-19 and floods.

Floods in South Australia earlier this year knocked out a major railway line for several weeks, impacting supply chains and sales at Coles, particularly in Western Australia.

The devastating rain on the east coast then led to the temporary closures of 130 stores in NSW and Queensland.