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Woolworths Foods standout performer as retailer reports 54.5% fall in profits

| Retailer trading results

Woolworths Foods stood out as the star performer for the struggling retailer, which reported a 54.5% drop in profits to R2.2 billion after changes in accounting standards for the 52 weeks to end June 18. Headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell 64.8% to 116.2 cents.

Sales at the Cape Town retailer's Food unit grew 10.7% with online sales for the year growing 57.2%, the company said in a statement on Thursday. This compares with a 10.7% fall in sales in its Fashion, Beauty and Home unit.

Its troubled Australian retailing operation, David Jones, saw sales decline 17.2% in the second half of the year, ending the full year down 6.4%. Country Road sales in the second half also declined by 25.6%, ending the year down 14.3% on the  prior year.

Woolworths said the year was characterised by the disruption of Covid-19 pandemic which significantly impacted the performance of the group during H2.

"The challenges posed by the crisis galvanised our teams to work together as we successfully implemented numerous initiatives to stabilise our operations and cash flows and strengthen our balance sheet," said CEO Roy Bagattini.

It is imperative though, that we to actively learn from this crisis and reassess our strategies, particularly in the context of a fast-evolving customer shopping ecosystem where we’re seeing an accelerated shift to online and accentuated levels of digital engagement with our customers."

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