Tough times for consumers sees Woolworths missing out on rebound
Lockdown restrictions in Australia and the July civil unrest in SA hit sales and profits
Picture: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGSHigh-end clothes and food retailer Woolworths expects its first-half headline profit to slump up to 40% as lockdown restrictions in Australia and civil unrest in SA hit sales.In a sign of the pressure on consumers in an economy that still bears scars from the Covid-19 outbreak, the food business, traditionally a star performer, barely grew. Woolworths’ clothing business seemed not to have benefited from a wider rebound in spending during November.
The update, for the half-year to December 26, showed the food business increased turnover just 3.8%. Excluding new stores, comparable store sales rose only 2.8%.The retailer said the low growth should be viewed in the context of a high base in 2020, when people spent more than usual on groceries and eating at home, because they could not go to restaurants due to lockdown restrictions. Sasfin analyst Alec Abraham said this argument “holds water as Woolworths Foods handsomely outperformed its peers last year in terms of total and real sales”.
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