Warehouse hopes strong consumer demand will drive summer sales

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The Warehouse is banking on pent up consumer demand and extended shopping hours to drive sales going into the crucial Christmas-New Year holiday period.

The Warehouse Group’s chief executive Nick Grayston says 18 of the “Big Red Sheds” in Auckland will open longer in the lead-up to Christmas to help drive sales.
Photo: Supplied

The company’s first quarter sales have taken a significant hit because of Covid lockdowns and restrictions, falling nearly 15 percent on a year ago to $630.7 million, while its margins fell sharply as it discounted prices to sell excess winter stock caused by the lockdowns.

Chief executive Nick Grayston said trading had been in line with previous lockdowns with consumers switching to online channels to buy, but he was looking for a rebound.

“With the opening of our retail stores across Auckland … (we) anticipate significantly improved sales momentum. We are optimistic that pent up customer demand will see good uplift in our November and December trading performance.”

He said 18 of the “Big Red Sheds” in Auckland would open longer to drive sales.

“We have a strong stock position across all brands and are well placed and ready to meet peak period Christmas and summer demand,” Grayston said.

He said there were concerns congested postal and courier networks had been delaying delivery of online purchases, but having shops open again was expected to help ease the pressure.

Online sales for the quarter more than doubled to $190m, nearly a third of all sales for the period.

The company confirmed that its declared final dividend of last year of 17.5 cents a share would be paid, after it reviewed the impact of Covid on its finances.

The Warehouse said it will be mandatory for all employees to be fully vaccinated against Covid by mid-January after receiving strong staff support.

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