With a muted fanfare played on a solo oboe, the Woolworths results are in, and they are, let’s face it, not all that: turnover was +3% to R74.3bn, while adjusted pre-tax profit (which we’ll have to quote in the absence of any info on trading profit) was down -8.3% to R5.5bn. Woolworths Food was quite naturally the top performer, growing sales +8.6% over a hellishly difficult period. David Jones, equally naturally, was not, with sales up only +1% and comparable sales down -0.7% in a business into whose turnaround Woolies has already sunk R2.9bn. A new and promising aspect of the strategy Down Under is to bring the South African food model to hungry Australians. Back home, retail space grew +4.6%, +7.6% taking only food into account. Mr Moir seems as sanguine as ever, though, despite the challenges abroad and the competition back home, with Checkers making a strong play in Woolies territory. “We just do premium really well,” he says. “It’s a difficult business to be in and we are far from being complacent.” This in a nutshell. But if it’s more info that you want, click here.
Comment: It’s our considered belief that the Dapper One will emerge from this difficult period both stronger and wiser.