Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Warehouse confirms vaccination mandate as sales tumble in first quarter

The Warehouse has seen sales plummet nearly 15 per cent in the first quarter of this financial year compared to the same period a year ago, but has experienced a significant lift in online buying.

The retailer has also confirmed its plans to require all staff to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and has consulted with staff across its flagship stores, including Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationery and Torpedo7.

A “vast majority” supported the idea, the company said in a stock exchange announcement today.

Group sales in the first quarter declined to $630.7 million, down 14.6 per cent on the previous corresponding period. But online sales came to $190 million, up 118.2 per cent and representing just over 30 per cent of all sales.

Chief executive Nick Grayston said the ongoing disruption of Covid-19, and the more than 10 weeks of lockdown in Auckland during the current quarter, had impacted the sales. That said, the business was still trading in line with previous lockdown experiences.

The listed retailer highlighted the launch of its new MarketClub and MarketClub+ loyalty programmes in October, which it hopes will promote customer retention.

“MarketClub is currently available on and at The Warehouse – instore and online – and it is our intention is to extend our programme group-wide,” Grayston said.

Warehouse Stationery recorded sales of $48.2 million in the quarter, a decline of 22 per cent. The segment performed relatively weaker compared to the extended lockdown of March 2020, with customers better prepared to work and learn remotely, the company said.

Noel Leeming turned in $238.7 million, down 4.8 per cent compared to the same quarter last year, but up 6.1 per cent on the same quarter in FY20. Noel Leeming online sales saw growth of 148.5 per cent.

Torpedo7 recorded modest sales growth of 1.2 per cent to $34.2 million compared to the same quarter last year and 43.7 per cent growth compared to the same quarter in FY20 due to growth in both store and online channels. Torpedo7 online sales increased 73 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

The board confirmed last year’s final dividend of 17.5 cents would be paid on December 3.

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