Woolworths annual profit rises 9% on strength in Australian Food division

Credit: REUTERS/JASON REED

Woolworths Ltd reported a 9% rise in annual underlying profit on Thursday, helped by improved performance at its Australian Food division.

Adds full-year details, background

Aug 29 (Reuters) - Woolworths Ltd WOW.AX reported a 9% rise in annual underlying profit on Thursday, helped by improved performance at its Australian Food division.

Australia's largest supermarket operator said net profit, excluding one-off items, rose to A$1.75 billion ($1.18 billion) in the year ended June 30, from A$1.61 billion a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of A$1.74 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Riding on stronger sales in the second half, comparable sales in the Australian Food segment rose 3.1% in the year, while the company's total revenue from continuing operations climbed 5.3% to A$59.98 billion.

The company's results were in contrast to rival Coles Group COL.AX, which last week reported a drop in its annual profit. Coles had also warned that Woolworths' "Ooshies" collectibles programme could eat into its sales in the mid-term.

The two companies have been engaged in heavy discounting and turned to promotional programmes to prop up sales, offering collectable plastic figures with purchases above a certain value.

Net profit after significant items fell 7% for Woolworths, as the company took an impairment charge on the carrying value of its discount department store chain Big W.

Woolworths declared a final dividend of 57 Australian cents per share, compared with 50 Australian cents last year.

($1 = 1.4806 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel)

((Ambar.Warrick@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6749-6625; Reuters Messaging: ambar.warrick.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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