Australia's Woolworths reports full-year sales from continuing operations of AU$58.5B, up 6.8% year-over-year after adjusting for 53rd week in 2013; CEO says company seeing results from sharper focus on core businesses

July 30, 2013 (press release) –

  • FY13 sales from Continuing Operations up 6.8% or 4.8% adjusted for the 53rd week1
  • Result highlights underlying strength despite an environment of consumer uncertainty and low inflation
  • Momentum continues to build in Australian Food and Liquor
  • Focus on strategic priorities delivering pleasing results

Woolworths Limited today announced full year sales from continuing operations of $58.5 billion, an increase of 6.8% on the previous year or 4.8% after adjusting for the 53rd week in 20131. Sales for the fourth quarter from continuing operations were $14.1 billion, an increase of 12.7% on the previous year or 4.3% after adjusting for Easter and the 53rd week1.

CEO Grant O’Brien said: “The progress made in the 2013 financial year on our program of transformation for Woolworths Limited has been rewarded with a strong sales result. Momentum continues to increase in Australian Food and Liquor with comparable sales growth for the second half higher than the first half and the prior year. The result demonstrates the benefits that have been gained from a sharpened focus on our core businesses and results from the implementation of our Strategic Priorities.

“We have achieved solid full year sales growth, which is particularly pleasing when measured against challenging retail conditions and an economic environment underpinned by consumer uncertainty and low growth in disposable income. The fourth quarter result was pleasing given these challenging economic conditions were particularly evident as the quarter progressed.
“We now know more about what our customers want than ever before and we are doing more to meet their needs. This is why more customers are shopping with us and has contributed to our market share growth.

“Australian Food and Liquor delivered a solid full year result with sales increasing 6.6% (4.7% adjusted for the 53rd week1). Market share, customer numbers and basket size increased compared to the prior year. Strong volume growth was a key highlight. Our customer insights and ability to adapt to customers’ evolving needs continues to reap benefits for our business.

“Petrol sales increased 1.2% on the previous year (decreased 0.8% adjusted for the 53rd week1). Our diesel conversion program continues to drive strong growth in volumes. Merchandise sales at our Petrol stations have experienced strong growth as we continue to improve the range and quality of our offering.

“New Zealand Supermarkets delivered sales growth of 4.1%  (2.3% adjusted for the 53rd week1,3). We have continued to increase our market share, customer numbers and items sold. This is a pleasing result in light of the stagnant market conditions and negligible price inflation.

“BIG W sales for the year increased 4.9% (2.0% adjusted for the 53rd week1).  The second half result was pleasing in light of the challenging retail conditions and given that we did not have the benefit of government stimulus programs that were implemented in the fourth quarter last year. Our brand recognition is up and BIG W is more relevant than ever to our customers. This has led to solid growth in customer numbers and items sold.

“Hotels sales growth of 22.0% (19.7% adjusted for the 53rd week1) was driven by acquisitions during the year as well as the changes to Victorian gaming regulations which came into effect in August 2012. 

“Our Home Improvement business continues to grow, with 31 Masters stores trading at the end of the financial year, up from 15 in the prior year. Home Improvement sales for the year grew 49.6% (46.7% adjusted for the 53rd week1).  We are pleased with the initial customer response to Masters’ unique offering and market leading prices and we believe there is significant sustainable upside for this business over the long term.

“Online sales from continuing operations increased 42% for the year (38% adjusted for the 53rd  week1) and is an important growth engine across our business as customer shopping preferences evolve.

“These results demonstrate that good progress has been made over the last 18 months as we implement our Strategic Priorities and build a platform for future growth. While there is more to do, this work has put us in a good position as we enter the 2014 financial year and beyond.”

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