Woolworths Ltd CEO Grant O’Brien has claimed “solid” first-half sales for the Australian retailer and insisted its domestic food and liquor business had increased its market share.

The company, Australia’s largest retailer, booked a 4.8% rise in half-year sales from continuing operations, excluding petrol, to A$30bn (US$31.23bn) for the six months to 30 December.

O’Brien said Woolworths had a “sharpened focus on … meeting customers’ needs”. He added: “The growth our businesses are achieving while pursuing a transformational path for Woolworths is pleasing. However, there is still a great deal more to do.”

Sales from Woolworths’ Australian food and liquor business were up 4.7% at A$20.5bn. Comparable-store sales increased 2.7%.

Woolworths’ total supermarket division, which also includes stores in New Zealand, saw sales increase 3.7%.

Earlier this week, rival Coles reported a 3.8% rise in comparable-store sales from its food and liquor business in Australia.

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