The Warehouse has reported a 2 per cent improvement in sales for the first quarter of its financial year, thanks to improved performance at Warehouse Stationery and rapidly growing online sales.
The operator of 91 Warehouse and 59 Warehouse Stationery stores said group sales for the three months ending October 28 were $377.3 million, up 1.9 per cent on the same time last year.
Total sales for The Warehouse or Red Sheds were up 0.8 per cent to $325.7m, but same store sales for the chain were flat.
Meanwhile Warehouse Stationery or Blue Sheds experienced strong first quarter sales, up 9.1 per cent to $51.6 million, and same store sales up 3.7 per cent compared with the corresponding period last year.
Online sales grew 138 per cent in the quarter, assisted by the launch in August of the Red Alert daily sales site, the company said. At the end of October “Your Warehouse” was launched which allows it to offer targeted promotions to match the specific interests of customers through its website, it said.
Red Sheds saw double digit growth in consumer electronics, jewellery, housewares and pet products. This was offset by a decline in sales compared to last year as a result of the Rugby World Cup, and the company's decision to remove from sale some home appliance and whiteware products with high return rates.
Blue Sheds saw significant contributions from technology and communications products, the company said. Three new Warehouse Stationery stores were opened in the quarter in Warkworth, Royal Oak and Silverdale.
“I am pleased that in a quarter which we knew would have mixed performance in different categories we continued to deliver strong growth in key areas," chief executive, Mark Powell said.
"While same store sales in September and October were lower than the prior corresponding months, largely due to the cycling against the Rugby World Cup, The Warehouse sales performance in August was very strong and we are set up very well to enter the important second quarter.
"I am confident that our decision to remove some of our home appliance and whiteware products from sale, while having a short term impact, is clear evidence of The Warehouse putting the customer first which will benefit overall brand perception in the long term.”