Woolworths online sales up 118 per cent

But net profit down 16.8 per cent to $966.9m due to failing Dick Smith business

Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) has posted a 118 per cent increase in its total online sales for the 2012 half financial year, thanks in large to its growing online profile.

In a statement to the ASX, the retail giant attributed strong online sales to the launch of its revamped e-shopping platform in November 2011, which features predictive searching, multi-buy offers, ‘have you forgotten’ prompts, and favourites lists based on Everyday Rewards data.

Woolworths’ online reach also extends to its trial of a virtual shopping wall in Sydney and Melbourne last week, which enables customers to scan from 120 product barcodes off the wall, add them to the Woolworths app for payment, and have the groceries delivered to their home.

In addition, the retailer has rolled out trials of its ‘Click then Collect’ service, which allows shoppers to order groceries online then pick up the items in-store, at its outlets in Glenmore Park, Gosford, Miranda, Norwest Circa, and Unanderra.

The Woolworths mobile app has also facilitated its online business, with 1.5 million customers having downloaded the original app and 500,000 for the upgraded version so far.

However, despite the retailer’s strong online sales, it still experienced a net loss of $217 million from its divestment and restructure of Dick Smith.

The Australian electronics brand contributed to a 16.8 per cent company-wide drop in net profit for the first half year results to $966.9 million.

As a result, the retailer will refocus its consumer electronics business on Big W, with between four to seven stores expected to open per year in the next three to five years, as well as the launch of the Big W mobile app and a Daily Deals site.

Woolworths’ net profit from continuing operations was up 3.2 per cent to more than $1.1 billion and EBITDA was up 4.1 per cent.

Interim dividend was up 3.5 per cent to 59 cents per share fully flanked.

"This is a sound result considering subdued consumer confidence, deflationary pressures and the significant investment we are making in the business in line with our strategic priorities for growth,” Woolworths chief executive and managing director, Grant O’Brien, said in a statement.

Follow Diana Nguyen on Twitter: @diananguyen9

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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