Coles, Australia's second-largest food retailer, has reported a near-5% increase in half-year sales.

The company booked a 4.7% rise in revenue for the six months to 30 December. Sales from its food and liquor division were up 5%. Comparable sales from its food and liquor stores increased to 3.8%.

Coles said sales from its convenience stores grew 4%, although revenue from fuel boosted the result. Excluding petrol sales, comparable sales from Coles convenience stores dropped 2.2%.

MD Ian McLeod said Coles had seen increased volumes across the group. "The response to our initiatives has been encouraging, with a record number of customers and almost A$1bn (US$1.04bn) of sales achieved in the week leading up to Christmas. In particular, our customers are increasingly recognising the quality of our fresh food offer," he said.

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