WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS LIMITED - TRADING UPDATE
Registration number 1929/001986/06
JSE Code: WHL
TRADING UPDATE READ BY THE CHAIRMAN AT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON 4
The consumer boom in South Africa continues, driven by low interest rates, the
rapidly emerging black population, rising house prices and high levels of
Woolworths sales for the four months to date have met expectations with pleasing
volume growth and inflation in clothing and food under 3%, significantly below
the levels experienced for the comparable period last year.
The major contributor to the performance in the clothing division remains
ladieswear with improvements in menswear and childrenswear expected in the
winter season. Our policy of local sourcing remains under challenge as the
strong rand continues to put pressure on the South African clothing and textile
Homeware has sustained its growth pattern with more competitive entry price
points, innovation and improved displays in stores.
Our food business is performing well and continues to gain market share, despite
significantly lower levels of inflation compared to the same period last year.
Our modernisation programme continues with a third of our chain now upgraded.
The financial services books are growing significantly ahead of the first
quarter last year and bad debt levels remain low. We are projecting that bad
debt levels both now and in the future remain at very acceptable levels.
The relaunch of the Country Road brand was well received by customers and
trading for the season to date was more positive. Increased fashionability and
colour, a 20% reduction in weighted average price across apparel lines, a more
efficient supply chain and shorter lead times all contributed to double-digit
growth in unit sales. Retail sales grew by 6.5% in the quarter.
Both Woolworths and Country Road are positioned to deliver good earnings growth
for the half and full year.
A further trading update will be released in early January 2005. Woolworths
interim results for the 26-week period to 26 December 2004 are expected to be
announced on or about 14 February 2005.
Simon Susman Contact number: (021) 407-2700
Norman Thomson Contact number: (021) 407-3337
4 November 2004
RAND MERCHANT BANK (A division of FirstRand Bank Limited) CORPORATE FINANCE
Date: 04/11/2004 03:40:31 PM Produced by the JSE SENS Department