Coles online sales push Wesfarmers along

Wesfarmers has highlighted that its online stores are important to its retail business as it delivers mixed third quarter results for the 2014 financial year.

Wesfarmers has reported a bit of a mixed bag for its third quarter sales results of the 2014 financial year.

According to managing director Richard Goyder, overall 3Q results were similar to the results recorded during the first half of the year , especially when considering the impacts of an earlier Easter in financial year 2013.

The company's Coles business saw sales rise by 3.6 percent to AU$8.6 billion from the AU$8.3 billion that was recorded during the same period last year.

While no specific details of how much was made up of its online sales, finance director Terry Bowen told ZDNet that following the relaunch of the Coles online website last quarter, which was upgraded to cater for its mobile and desktop users, the company has seen "really resounding outcomes" as a result.

"Online sales in Coles, from a growth point of view, were three times the growth rate we've seen in prior periods. The growth in Coles online was very strong and the strongest in the business," he said.

In addition to Coles, online success also formed part of Officeworks' "every channel" business strategy where total sales for the quarter were up 6.7 percent to AU$445 million.

Wesfarmers home improvement and office supplies managing director John Gillam said the results were pleasing, particularly the good performance across the back-to-school trading period.

"The business is driving its 'every channel' strategy very well, providing customers with a compelling offer, both in-store and online," he said.

On the downside, Target reported a 3.6 percent drop in sales,  from the AU$699 million which was reported during the corresponding period last year, down to AU$674 million. This is despite the recent relaunch of the Target's online store.

Goyder said by comparison to the rest of the business, the Target online store is still "pretty small in the overall scheme of things".

The company has reduced SKUs on the Target online store in order to streamline it, Goyder said, but expects it to play a larger role in the business in the future.