Coles’ prediction for COVID-normal shopping

Coles Group has reported a full-year profit of $1.01 billion, up more than seven per cent despite COVID-19 lockdowns impacting shopping centres around the country.

Releasing its annual financial report today, the supermarket giant reported a 3.1 per cent lift in sales revenue to $38.6 billion and a lift in online sales to $2.1 billion.

The supermarket said the impressive headline figures came despite the business weathering eleven separate state lockdowns during the financial year.

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"Conditions in the early part of the first quarter remain volatile as outbreaks of the COVID-19 Delta variant have led to multiple lockdowns across the country," the group noted in its outlook for FY22.

"As the number of snap lockdowns increased, and the New South Wales lockdown was extended, 'local shopping' trends have re-emerged with eCommerce and neighbourhood stores outperforming shopping centre and CBD locations."

CEO of Coles Group Steven Cain thanked his employees and contractors, and highlighted working with government to provide access to priority vaccines for workers in critical areas.

"In another year of COVID-19, floods and bushfires, I would like to thank our team members, suppliers and community partners for their resilience and support to ensure the security of food supply and a safe environment for our customers," Mr Cain said.

"Whilst the COVID-19 Delta variant is presenting some new challenges, I would like to thank all levels of government for continuing to work with us to help keep our customers, team members and community safe, including by providing priority access to vaccines in some critical areas."

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Looking forward the supermarket juggernaut predicted that the current roll out of the vaccination program will result in "fewer lockdowns" and will "normalise consumer behaviour" in 2022.

"During FY22 Coles will be cycling the sales and cost impacts of COVID-19 across all segments, particularly the extended hard lockdown in Victoria during most of H1 FY21," the Group said in its outlook.

"We now expect the roll out of the vaccination program and in turn fewer lockdowns to support normalising consumer behaviours in calendar year 2022."

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Coles declared a fully-franked final dividend of 28 cents per share.

At the time of publishing Coles Group was down marginally (0.33 per cent) on the ASX 200.

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