Woolworths third quarter sales slumped 2.1% to $14.956 billion due to cheaper petrol prices and fewer Caltex service stations accepting supermarket discount dockets.
Excluding petrol, sales for the three months to April 5 were up 3% to $13.775 billion.
Food sales in April were subdued after some improvement in February and March, following disappointing results in December and January.
“The new leadership teams in Australian Food and Liquor have clear plans in place to restore sales momentum and extend our market leading position,” said CEO Grant O’Brien.
Food and liquor sales for the quarter were $10.6 billion, a rise of 2.3% on the previous year, which is well below the 5.4% quarterly increase reported by rival Coles.
Average prices on Woolworths supermarket shelves fell 2.4% in the third quarter. Coles also reported lower prices but not as much as Woolworths. Prices of goods on the shelves at Coles supermarkets fell 1% in the March quarter.
Woolworths petrol sales for the quarter fell 35.2% to $1.2 billion as average fuel prices dropped 22% and a change in the Woolworth Caltex alliances meant fewer service stations offering supermarket discounts.