I am incredibly proud of the efforts made by our people and independent retailers in supporting local communities during this unprecedented year.
The FY20 financial year was one of the most challenging years we have experienced, with devastating bushfires severely affecting many of our retailers and local communities, particularly in rural and regional areas where our retailers are strongly represented. This was then followed by the COVID-19 pandemic which drove unprecedented spikes in demand, particularly in the Food pillar, resulting in extreme pressure on our supply chain.
The important role our independent retailers play in their local communities has never been more evident, and we have truly lived our purpose of supporting them and championing their success through these difficult periods.
We delivered very credible results in FY20 and had a strong start to the 2021 financial year, with sales growth across all three pillars in the first seven weeks of the year. We continue to see the shift to more local neighbourhood shopping across all pillars and we are now focused on ensuring the new and returning customers gained through the COVID-19 period are retained in our independent network.