Investors are lowering their expectations for Woolworths as the outlook for the local retail sector deteriorates.
The company’s share price, which has been pummelled, losing 27% over the past year, rose nearly 2% on Friday despite a lukewarm trading update and statement.
The retailer’s sales were "more or less" in line with consensus, while the earnings guidance was slightly below expectations, said Sanlam Private Wealth investment analyst Renier de Bruyn.
Woolworths said adjusted headline earnings per share for the year to June 25 would fall between 5% and 10%.
Hopes had been for a rise in adjusted headline earnings per share of 5%.
"Woolworths’ share price has been under pressure over the past three months so the market has already dampened expectations for the group given the tough macro environment," said De Bruyn.
"I think the market was bracing for the softer numbers, given the weak national apparel retail sales numbers released in both SA and Australia over the past few months, as well as TFG and Mr Price Group results released in May," he said.
Woolworths reported a 3% increase in group sales compared with the year-earlier period. It said growth in the second half of its financial year had been affected by "increasingly difficult trading conditions in both SA and Australasia".
The local clothing and general merchandise division grew sales 1.4% with price movement of 6.6%.