By Alice Uribe

Australian grocer Woolworths Group said overall group sales increased in its fiscal first quarter, with customer trends consistent with the prior quarter and food prices continuing to moderate.

In the 14 weeks to Oct. 1, Woolworths said total group sales were 17.22 billion Australian dollars (US$10.94 billion), an increase of 5.3% compared to the prior year.

Sales in its Australian Food unit rose by 6.4% to A$13.08 billion. In local currency, New Zealand grocery sales rose 2.8%

Woolworths said that while customer trends show resilience, some shoppers were more focused on value in all forms.

"Looking ahead, we have strong plans in place for the key Christmas and holiday trading period and while sales trends in October to date have remained broadly in line with the trend lines in 1Q, the trading environment remains uncertain and value for money remains a key focus for our customers across all our businesses," Chief Executive Brad Banducci said.

For the first quarter, discount department store Big W saw a 5.5% decrease in sales to A$1.13 billion, despite showing modest improvement in trend in the latter part of the quarter.

"While profit in the half to date has been impacted by the decline in sales and higher wage costs, the Christmas trading period will determine the success of the half," Banducci said.

Woolworths said inflation in its food businesses continued to moderate over the quarter driven mainly by deflation in fruit and vegetables and meat.

Write to Alice Uribe at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

10-24-23 1819ET