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Coles and Woolworths end holiday trading neck and neck

products grocerySupermarkets were the big winners over the Christmas trading period with the sector seeing strong growth, according to research from Citi analysts.

Market leaders Woolworths and Coles both delivered solid results and ended the period within a point of each other.

With Christmas day falling on a Tuesday, the final weekend of trade was “critical” for retailers, and Christmas eve in particular was critical for grocery.

Woolworths saw increased food sales over the period and is forecasted to deliver 3.4 per cent sales growth.

Coles surprised most suppliers with stronger than expected food sales after a weak Christmas in 2017. The supermarket giant is expected to hit 2.7 per cent growth for the period.

“In recent years there has been a clear winner and loser over Christmas,” the Citi report reads.

“This is likely to be the first Christmas in five years and the second time over the past 14 years that both Woolworths and Coles delivered [like-for-like] sales growth within 1 point of each other.”

Premium options were a favoured choice for many consumers with a number of categories within the food and liquor seeing consumers ‘trade-up’, resulting in average sale price growth.

Woolworths Liquor is expected to see sales slow for the second quarter of 2019, while Coles Liquor is “improving off a lower base”.

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