Australian retailer Coles Myer posted a 7.3% rise in quarterly sales and said it has continued to stabilise sales at its troubled general merchandise division.

Sales at its food and liquor units also rose 7.3% to a$6.3bn for the three months to October 27, tempered by a slowdown in sales of petrol due to the “aggressive use of petrol promotions” by its major competitors.

The retailer revealed it is considering a fuel discount scheme - similar to that of rival Woolworths - and a co-branded credit card.

CEO John Fletcher said: “I think there is absolutely no doubt petrol has affected our top-line growth in this quarter in food and liquor. But more importantly...the bottom-line growth has remained on track for us.

“Overseas and local experience has shown a fuel discount programme can lift sales by as much as 1.5% to 2%.”

The 2003 financial year store expansion programme was said to be on schedule with the majority of the projected 34 new and 10 acquisition supermarkets, along with 40 liquor store openings to occur during the second half of the year.