Group sales increased by 17.1% for the first 26 weeks of the 2016 financial year, over the comparable 26-week period in 2015. Excluding David Jones, Group sales increased by 12.3%.
Woolworths Clothing sales increased by 11.7%, with a price movement of 6.6%. Sales in comparable stores grew by 8.0%. Net retail space grew by 7.2%. General Merchandise sales increased by 5.8% and by 2.3% in comparable stores.
Woolworths Food sales, including concessions, increased by 12.1%, with a price movement of 5.7%. Excluding concessions, Food sales increased by 11.7%. Sales in comparable stores grew by 5.8%. Net retail space grew by 9.8%.
On a 26 week comparative basis, David Jones sales, including concession sales, increased by 11.2% in Australian dollar terms. Sales in comparable stores grew by 9.7% and net retail space grew by 1.5%.
Country Road Group sales in Australia and New Zealand increased by 13.4% in Australian dollar terms. Sales in comparable stores grew by 0.1% and net retail space grew by 16.4%, 14.6% of which was space reallocated from other brands in David Jones and therefore does not constitute additional space from a Group perspective. Country Road Group’s South African sales are included in the Woolworths Clothing figures.
The Woolworths Financial Services debtors’ book reflected year-on-year growth of 7.8% at the end of December 2015, with an annualised impairment rate for the six months ended 31 December 2015 at 4.8% (six months ended 31 December 2014: 4.8%).
We expect that earnings per share (“EPS”) and headline earnings per share (“HEPS”) for the 26-week period ended 27 December 2015 (“period”) will be between 30-40% and 25-35% higher than the reported EPS and HEPS of 184.2 cents and 194.1 cents respectively for the 26-week period ended 28 December 2014. This translates to an expected EPS range of between 239.5 and 257.9 cents and an expected HEPS range of between 242.6 and 262.0 cents for the period. Included in earnings for the prior period are transaction and other related costs as well as unrealised foreign exchange gains totalling R427 million (post-tax).
Shareholders are advised that the forecast financial information contained in this announcement has not been audited, reviewed or reported upon by the Group’s external auditors.
The Group’s interim results for the 26-week period ended 27 December 2015 are scheduled to be announced on the Stock Exchange News Service on or about 11 February 2016.
Reeza Isaacs (Group Finance Director) on 021 407 2464
Ralph Buddle on 021 407 3250
14 January 2016
RAND MERCHANT BANK (A division of FirstRand Bank Limited)
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