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Warehouse Group third quarter sales down 2.5% on last year

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The Warehouse Group third quarter sales reflect a string of Covid-related disruptions over the past two-and-a-half years.

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Photo: Supplied

The retailer’s group sales for the third quarter ending May were $771.6 million, down 2.5 percent on the same quarter in 2021, up 32 percent on the same quarter in 2020 and up 8 percent on 2019’s pre-Covid-19 trading.

“The trading environment continues to be very challenging with high inflation impacting consumer spending, shipping delays affecting the group’s stock availability, and some customers remaining hesitant to return to stores in person,” chief executive Nick Grayston said.

“Despite these factors, Q3 has held up relatively well with a solid performance across the group.”

Online sales rose more than 7.4 percent over the year earlier and accounted for more than 11 percent of total group sales, which included the Red Sheds, Stationery, Torpedo7, Noel Leeming and The Market.

Click and collect sales continued to grow as a preferred choice for online customers, accounting for 47 percent of group online sales.

However, foot traffic was down 13 percent over the quarter, as New Zealand spent 74 out of 91 days in red traffic light Covid setting.

The company said the move to orange had improved foot traffic since 14 April, but it was still down on the year earlier.

Group gross profit margin was 35.6 percent, which was little changed from the year earlier, but an improvement on the first half’s 34.7 percent which had been hit by increased freight costs and the sales mix.

The company expected shipping to remain constrained through the rest of the financial year and into 2023.

“While stock continues to flow, shipping costs remain very high and there is an increase in the time it takes for product to get to the shelf, which together with Covid-19 driven team member absences, have contributed to some availability gaps in store.”

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