Woolworths today announced strong results for the year ended 29 June 2014, reporting a turnover of R39.7bn and a 20.1% improvement in profit before tax to R4.4bn.

Headline earnings rose 17.1% to 398 cents and the Group generated a return on equity of 46.7%.

Commenting on the results, CEO Ian Moir said, “This is a strong set of results amidst a competitive trading environment, with above-market growth attributed to our stronger, more profitable customer relationships in South Africa and Australia.”

The Clothing & General Merchandise business performed well and achieved growth in market share in an increasingly promotion-led market. Clothing sales (including Country Road Group’s sales in South Africa) grew 10.6%.

Woolworths Food business had another year of exceptional performance, well ahead of the market, with sales up 14.8%. Woolworths supermarket strategy, aimed at capturing a greater share of customers’ total food shop, showed success throughout the period.  The past year has marked the highest space growth in Woolworths history, creating new, bigger and highly successful supermarkets.

The brands in the Country Road stable, including Witchery, Mimco, Country Road and Trenery all traded well ahead of expectation, with profits for the group up almost 50%.

Woolworths Financial Services performed well despite the tough credit environment, with strong revenue growth, good cost control and industry-leading impairments.

Woolworths business in Africa also continues to trade well. The company has leveraged South African capabilities into Africa and continues to focus on costs, productivity and opportunities for further growth.

Looking forward, Moir concluded, “Woolworths continues to be well-positioned in a challenging retail environment. We are seeing strong growth in sales and profits in all our businesses, and our recent acquisition of David Jones presents opportunities for further growth and scale across the Group. We are looking forward to building on our success and becoming a leading Southern Hemisphere retailer.”


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