Bumper Christmas trade delivers Coles a surprise profit boost

Ham-hungry Australians have helped supermarket giant Coles report stronger-than-expected sales over the Christmas period, with the retail giant telling investors to expect bigger profits for the first half of the financial year.

In a surprise trading update on Thursday, the ASX-listed company said the strong growth it had seen in its supermarkets division towards the end of last year had continued into December, driving comparable sales growth of 3.6 per cent in the second quarter.

Coles has reported a surprise upgrade to first-half trading, driven by a better-than-expected Christmas trade period.Credit:Louie Douvis

This was above analyst expectations of 2.3 per cent growth for the quarter and bumped the company’s overall comparable sales growth for the half to 2 per cent, a result Coles said was fuelled by a Christmas advertising campaign which “exceeded expectations”.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) will now sit between $710 million and $730 million for the first half, Coles said, $46 million to $66 million above the analyst average expectation of $664 million.


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