Woolworths delivered a more than 58% improvement in headline earnings per share in the 26 weeks ended 27 December 2020, with the retail group benefiting, in part, from a big focus on e-commerce.
The improvement in profitability — and group sales that rose 5.3% compared to the year-ago period — came despite footfall in its stores being significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Actions to stimulate trade, strengthen online capabilities and protect margins through cost containment, tight inventory management and the assistance of government support measures, resulted in a 24.6% adjusted profit before tax growth for the half,” the Johannesburg-listed group said.
Online sales at Woolworths Food leapt by 158.5% year on year, contributing 2.2% to total sales. That compares to overall sales growth of 10.9% and 9.4% in comparable stores, with net space growth of 0.4%.
Woolworths Fashion, Beauty and Home (FBH) saw overall sales decline by 11.2% year on year. However, online sales jumped by 118.8%, contributing 4% to South African sales.
Woolworths’ Australian retailer David Jones reported sales down 8.8% (and by 10.5% in comparable stores). However, online sales came to the rescue, rising 55.5% and contributing 17.7% to total sales in the half-year.
Country Road, a mid-market clothing retailer, grew online sales by 52.5%, contributing a staggering 31.6% to total sales in the period. –
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Duncan McLeod is editor of TechCentral.
This article was first published on TechCentral here.