Australian grocery retailer Coles today (21 October) reported a 4.9% rise in sales during its first quarter in what the company described as a “mixed trading environment”.

Coles’ food and liquor division posted a 5.9% rise in sales during the quarter ended 25 September to reach A$5.9bn (US$5.82bn). Comparable-store sales were up 6.2%.

The retailer’s convenience division reported a 1.2% increase in sales to A$1.5bn. Comparable-store sales rose 1.8%.

“We are now seeing good momentum in Coles as the hard work of the last two years begins to pay dividends,” said Coles managing director Ian McLeod. “There has been no silver bullet in our sales delivery; it has been through a combination of improved operating standards, better quality fresh food, improved availability, investment in better value and a stronger focus on customer service.”

However, Richard Goyder, managing director of Coles’ parent Wesfarmers, said he still remains cautious about consumer confidence. “We remain cautious of any negative impact to household budgets or consumer confidence, particularly leading into the Christmas trading period.”