Big W has experienced its eighth consecutive quarter of positive sales growth, with sales accelerating in late February due to COVID-19.

In its Q320 results, Big W reports that total sales increased by 9.5% to $866 million with comparable sales growth of 9.9%.

The business' online channel also grew in the quarter with online sales increasing by 73% to $57 million, with online penetration of 6.5%, up from 4.1% in Q319, in part due to increased demand for home delivery.

However, the business' category mix shifted in Q3, with Home Essentials, Leisure and Toy categories performing strongly while Apparel sales declined in March.

As reported by Toy & Hobby Retailer, Big W's puzzles and games sales experienced a 30% rise compared to 2019.

The category mix changes resulted in higher average selling prices but are typically lower margin categories.

Comparable transactions declined, particularly during the COVID-19 period, as customers shopped less frequently but increased their average basket size.

In the second half, the business expects be impacted by incremental costs due to COVID-19 and higher online fulfilment costs. Inventory remains strong but continues to be closely monitored.

Big W also donated 90,000 essential items such as toothpaste, body wash, kitchenware, back-to-school packs and homewares to charity partner Good360 for distribution to its network.

Three stores were closed during the quarter as part of the ongoing network review, with the business trading through 180 stores at the end of the quarter.

Based on current forecasts, Big W is expected to make a small profit for F20.

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