Woolworths has reported first quarter sales growth of 8.9%, the company's CEO Michael Luscombe said today (23 October). Sales in the period reached A$11.7 billion from A$10.74 billion a year earlier, slightly below analysts' estimates as food inflation was below forecasts.

"We have maintained the strong momentum in all our businesses. Particularly pleasing are the excellent results from BIG W and New Zealand Supermarkets." said Luscombe.

Australian Food and Liquor sales for the quarter increased 8.7%. Comparable store sales in Australian Food and Liquor division for the quarter increased 7.6%.

In a statement the company said that the number of customers shopping with at its stores had continued to increase reflecting "their acceptance of ongoing improvements in our offer and recognition of its value".

New Zealand Supermarkets achieved sales of $1.07 billion for the quarter, an increase of 14.7%.

Comparable sales for the first quarter were 9.9%

 "Whilst we are pleased with the momentum in the business, we are mindful that discretionary spending continues to be influenced by macro-economic factors such as fluctuating petrol prices and interest rate rises. We maintain our sales outlook for the full year where we expect sales from continuing operations to grow in the range of 7% to 10%." said Luscombe.