The Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX:WOW) share price was on the move on Thursday after the release of its annual general meeting update…
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The Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price has been on the move on Thursday on the day of its virtual annual general meeting.
However, after a series of ups and downs, the retail conglomerate’s shares ended the day flat at $38.25.
What did Woolworths speak about at its annual general meeting?
At the meeting, the company provided investors with a summary of its performance in an eventful FY 2020, an update on trading during the new financial year, and its sustainability plan.
In respect to current trading, as announced last week, Woolworths has started FY 2021 in fine form. During the first quarter, group sales came in 12.3% higher than the prior corresponding period to $17.9 billion.
This was driven largely by a 12.9% increase in Australian Food sales to $12.03 billion and an 87% lift in group e-commerce sales to $1.5 billion. This was supported by a 20.4% increase in Big W sales and a 21.4% jump in Endeavour drinks sales, which offset weakness in its Hotels business.
Commenting on the remainder of the half, Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said: “While we don’t like to make predictions, particularly in the current environment, for the rest of the calendar year we expect elevated sales and costs to continue as customers spend more time at home and continue to embrace eCommerce.”
The Woolworths sustainability plan.
Woolworths also touched on the 2025 sustainability plan it released yesterday.
This plan details an ambitious set of goals and commitments that Woolworths has set itself for a better tomorrow.
Mr Banducci explained: “As Australia and New Zealand’s largest retailer, we care deeply about our impact on people and the planet and we want to go further than just reducing negative impacts – we want to create good.”
“Our Sustainability Plan is ambitious but we have a responsibility to get this right, because our customers and team increasingly want to be healthier, they want to be less wasteful, and they want to cut down on the plastic packaging that pollutes our oceans,” he added.
Among the goals Woolworths has set for 2025 are using 100% green electricity and putting zero food waste into landfill. Further afield, it wants to be net positive for carbon emissions by 2050.
The former will make a huge difference for the environment. Woolworths notes that as a group, it uses around 1% of Australia’s electricity at present.
The company also wants to materially increase healthier choices for customers and make 100% of its own brand packaging and sourcing sustainable.
Management commented: “We are working hard to make our packaging as sustainable as possible by reducing the use of virgin plastic and increasing the amount of recycled content in our Own Brand packaging. We will label all of our Own Brand products with the Australasian Recycling Label so customers can clearly see which elements they can recycle.”
Though, it acknowledges that it cannot do this alone and will be investing in innovation and education.
“We cannot achieve our ambitious goals alone. We will invest in innovating, educating and advocating in a way that brings our partners, farmers, suppliers, customers and team members with us on the journey,” it concluded.
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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Woolworths Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.