Wesfarmers optimistic on Xmas trade

By a staff reporter

Wesfarmers Ltd says its retail offerings are well placed for the coming Christmas period and is optimistic the struggling Target chain will see a rapid turnaround next year after its leadership reshuffle is completed.

At the group's 2013 annual general meeting, Wesfarmers' managing director Richard Goyder said the group's diverse business operations were trading as expected, led by the "generally pleasing" Q1 growth in key retail chains Coles, Bunnings, Officeworks and Kmart.

"Trading since the end of September has seen a continuation of the generally good performances in our retail businesses," Mr Goyder said.

"In relation to outlook, all of our retail divisions remain focused on providing customers stronger merchandise offers and better value, with the divisions generally well placed for the important Christmas trading period."

Target continued to weigh with comparable first-quarter performance declining 5.2 per cent on the previous year, but Mr Goyder was optimistic that management changes set to be completed by Christmas would would accelerate "transformation activities".

Wesfarmers takes on the 'Amazon Gorilla'

Mr Goyder also restated his commitment to take on the "Amazon Gorilla" and other competitive threats to the group's core retail business.

"Amazon is an example of the increased competition we are now facing," Mr Goyder said.

"All Wesfarmers retail businesses like Coles have to be entrepreneurial, fast moving, long term in outlook, innovative and fit … to take on, not just Woolworths, Aldi, IGA and Costco who are aggressive competitors, not just on price but also in terms of store network growth, but new entrants such as Amazon which operates in a borderless world," he said.