Australian grocer Coles’ sales rise on easing COVID curbs

(Reuters) – Australia’s No.2 supermarket chain Coles Group (COL.AX) posted a slight uptick in third-quarter sales on Thursday and said it had made a strong start to the current period thanks to reopening of the economy and increases in product prices.

The Melbourne-based retailer’s sales revenue came in at A$9.08 billion ($6.47 billion) for the quarter ended March 27, compared with A$8.76 billion a year earlier.

The jump came even as adverse weather conditions in New South Wales and Queensland disrupted supply chains, hurting availability of products.

Coles’ supermarket business – which accounts for most of the group’s earnings – posted a 4% rise in sales revenue to A$8.03 billion.

The retailer said it had seen a “solid trading period” so far in the fourth quarter as Australia eased coronavirus restrictions on family gatherings.

The company added that the inflation in raw material costs was expected to continue into the current quarter and fiscal 2023.