2000/02/17
R139,2M FOR THE SIX MONTH PERIOD ENDED 31 DECEMBER 1999, REFLECTING A FALL OF [JSE Securities Exchange - SENS]
 
17/02/2000 - 20:09:25

WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS LIMITED TODAY POSTED CONSOLIDATED AFTER TAX PROFITS OF
R139,2M FOR THE SIX MONTH PERIOD ENDED 31 DECEMBER 1999, REFLECTING A FALL OF
2,7%.
THE SOUTH AFRICAN OPERATIONS OF WOOLWORTHS GENERATED A REDUCED PROFIT BEFORE
TAX OF R199,9M WHEN COMPARED TO THE 1998 FIGURE OF R216,9M.  TURNOVER, HOWEVER,
INCREASED BY 5,5%. THE GROUP'S AUSTRALIAN SUBSIDIARY, COUNTRY ROAD, POSTED A
PRE-TAX PROFIT OF R4,4M FOR THE SAME PERIOD.
HEADLINE EARNINGS FELL FROM 18CPS TO 16CPS. THE BALANCE SHEET REMAINS STRONG
WITH THE NET DEBT EQUITY RATIO AT 10%.
THE TEXTILES DIVISION HAS SHOWED A GROWTH IN SALES OF 3,9% BUT  LOST 1,2% IN
MARKET SHARE.  EXPLAINING THIS TREND, THE NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE
WOOLWORTHS CHAIN COMPRISING RETAIL, PROCUREMENT, MARKETING, FINANCE AND HUMAN
RESOURCES, SIMON SUSMAN, SAID THAT THERE HAD BEEN INCREASED PRICE COMPETITION
ARISING FROM LOW COST IMPORTS. HE ADDED THAT WOOLWORTHS' CUSTOMERS CONTINUE TO
BE UNDER FINANCIAL PRESSURE DESPITE INTEREST RATE CUTS.
"WE HAVE REVIEWED OUR TEXTILE VALUE PROPOSITION AND THIS SHOULD LEAD TO A
SIGNIFICANT REALIGNMENT OF PRICES AND RANGES," SAYS SUSMAN.  HE WENT ON TO SAY
THAT, "THE RANGE SIZE IS BEING REDUCED AND WILL BE SUPPORTED BY LARGER ORDER
QUANTITIES.  THIS WILL RESULT IN LONGER PRODUCTION RUNS, BETTER AVAILABILITY
AND LOWER PRICES."
WOOLWORTHS HAS SHOWN AN 8% SALES INCREASE IN ITS FOODS DIVISION.  THE COMPANY'S
MARKET SHARE IN THIS SECTOR REMAINED UNCHANGED.
THE WOOLWORTHS FINANCIAL SERVICES DIVISION WHICH CONTROLS THE CARD OPERATION,
PERSONAL LOANS AND UNIT TRUSTS, HAS PERFORMED WELL DURING THE PERIOD.  CARD
SALES CONTINUE TO COMPRISE 30% OF THE COMPANY'S TURNOVER AND ACTIVE ACCOUNTS
HAVE INCREASED BY 1%.  BRIAN FROST, THE NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE
WOOLWORTHS CHANNEL, WHICH COMPRISES INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, LOGISTICS AND
FINANCIAL SERVICES, SAYS THAT IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE GROUP'S EMERGING
FINANCIAL SERVICES BUSINESS HAVE OCCURRED.  "LOANS TOTALLING R86M HAVE BEEN
GRANTED TO 26 000 CUSTOMERS SINCE THE PERSONAL LOAN SCHEME WAS LAUNCHED IN MAY
1999. THE WOOLWORTHS UNIT TRUST HAS ALSO BEEN LAUNCHED AND PROVIDES OUR
CUSTOMERS WITH A CONVENIENT INVESTMENT VEHICLE," HE ADDED.
COUNTRY ROAD'S SALES GREW BY 0,6%. IAN THOMSON, THE CEO AND ACTING CHAIRMAN OF
COUNTRY ROAD, SAID THAT HE WAS DELIGHTED THAT THE TURNAROUND STRATEGIES
IMPLEMENTED SINCE WOOLWORTHS ACQUIRED CONTROL, HAD RESULTED IN THE COMPANY
RECORDING A PROFIT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS. COMMENTING, THE NEW
WOOLWORTHS CHAIRMAN, COLIN HALL, SAID, "WE ARE PLEASED WITH THE PROGRESS BEING
MADE AT COUNTRY ROAD. WE HAVE A SOLID STRATEGY IN PLACE AND A STRONG EXECUTIVE
TEAM LEADING THE COMPANY. WE BELIEVE THAT THE INVESTMENT MADE IN COUNTRY ROAD
IS STRATEGICALLY SOUND, AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE CONTINUING PROGRESS OF THE
COMPANY."
WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS LIMITED HAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED A RESTRUCTURE WHICH IS
EXPECTED TO PROVIDE BENEFITS THROUGH RATIONALISATION OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN THE
WOOLTRU GROUP. AS PART OF THE RESTRUCTURING, HALL HAS ANNOUNCED THE APPOINTMENT
OF THOMSON TO THE BOARD OF WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS LIMITED AS AN EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR.  IN ORDER TO FURTHER STRENGTHEN THE BOARD, MAIR BARNES, MARK
LAMBERTI, JOHN NEWTON AND RICHARD VAN RENSBURG HAVE ALSO BEEN APPOINTED AS
NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS.  ACCORDING TO HALL, THE NEW APPOINTEES WITH THEIR
JOINT EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE WILL ADD CONSIDERABLE VALUE TO THE WOOLWORTHS
BOARD.
ISSUED BY :
MARCUS BANGA
COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
WOOLWORTHS
PHONE : 012 407-2195
FAX : 021 407-3921
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
COLIN HALL          TEL:   464-1902   CELL:   082 568 7887
SIMON SUSMAN               407-2700           083 252 5696
BRIAN FROST                407-3311           083 252 5888
PRODUCED BY: SHARIFA WALBURG 17-02-2000 17:21 SENS

PUBLISHER : JSE SENS Feed
Source: JSE Securities Exchange - SENS
 
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