Australian retailer Coles Myer has reported annual sales up 13.3% to A$36.6bn (US$28.1bn) and said it is considering selling its Myer department stories.

Comparative group sales were up 4.1% for the year to 30 July 2005. Sales from its food and liquor division rose 6.9%, or 2.9% on a comparative basis. Non-food sales were up 6.0%, or 3.1% on a comparative basis.

Underlying earnings are expected to be in the order of $675m, up 17%.

“This is a very strong result, particularly given the tighter trading conditions experienced across the retail sector this calendar year,” Coles Myer CEO John Fletcher said, adding that the fourth quarter was the toughest for some time as consumer spending was impacted by increases in interest rates and fuel prices, as well as the late onset of colder weather which affected winter related sales of non-food items such as apparel.

“We have begun the development of Coles Myer’s next five-year strategic plan, which will consider ownership options for our Myer business, including retention, de-merger and trade sale,” Fletcher said. The Myer business includes 61 department stores.

“Following a detailed review of the Megamart business, we have decided to divest its nine stores,” he added. Megamart stores sell electrical goods and furniture.