WHL - Woolworths Holdings - Trading Update, Trading Statement and Distribution [JSE Securities Exchange - SENS]
WHL - Woolworths Holdings - Trading Update, Trading Statement and Distribution  
by way of a special dividend to Shareholders                                    
WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS LIMITED                                                     
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)                                  
Registration number 1929/001986/06                                              
Share code: WHL ISIN: ZAE000063863                                              
("Woolworths Holdings" or "the company" or "the group")                         
TO SHAREHOLDERS                                                                 
TRADING UPDATE                                                                  
Woolworths Holdings increased sales by 8.7% over the corresponding 20 week      
trading period to 16th November 2008, with comparable store sales growth of     
0.4%. The sales performance of the retail operations of the group was as        
              Sales growth   Comparable  Price     Growth in                    
              for            store       movement* trading                      
              20 weeks to    sales                 space                        
              16  November   growth                (non                         
              2008                                 comparable)                  
Woolworths     6.6%           (1.5)%                                            
- Clothing    1.8%           (2.5)%      0.5%      7.8%                         
and general                                                                     
- Food        9.8%           (0.8)%      9.6%      17.7%                        
Country Road   17%            8.9%                                              
Total group    8.7%           0.4%                                              
* The group has reported actual price movement as opposed to price inflation.   
Average food price inflation measured 13.4% for the period.  Customers are      
trading down to our more competitive opening price points, hence this lower     
actual price movement.                                                          
The trading conditions experienced in the second six months of the 2008         
financial year to 30 June 2008 have continued into the new financial year.  The 
ongoing current economic climate continues to keep the middle and upper income  
markets served by Woolworths under pressure.  The directors do not therefore    
expect any significant change in trading conditions during the financial year.  
TRADING STATEMENT                                                               
Shareholders are referred to the announcement released on SENS on 16 April 2008,
advising of the acquisition by Absa Group Limited of 50% plus one share of      
Woolworths Financial Services (Proprietary) Limited to Absa Group Limited with  
effect from 1 October 2008 ("the transaction"). Pursuant to the transaction,    
earnings per share for the 6 months to 31 December 2008 will be impacted by the 
R400m profit realised from the transaction.                                     
As a result of the transaction, the group anticipates that earnings per share   
("EPS") for the six months to December 2008 will show an improvement of more    
than 20% over the results reported for the corresponding reporting period of the
previous year.  The transaction will not impact the headlines earnings per share
Due to the current volatility and the significance of the peak retail trading   
season, it is not possible, at this stage in the reporting period, to quantify  
the impact on EPS within the 20% range required by the JSE Limited Listings     
Requirements ("JSE Listings Requirements") with a reasonable degree of certainty
or to provide guidance on HEPS. A further trading statement will be issued later
in the reporting period and provide earnings forecast ranges for EPS and HEPS as
required by the JSE Listings Requirements.                                      
Shareholders are advised that the trading and financial information contained in
this announcement has not been reviewed or reported on by the group's external  
The group's results for the half year ending December 2008 are due to be        
released on SENS on or about 19 February 2009.                                  
The directors have resolved to declare a special dividend of 94 cents per       
ordinary share from part of the cash proceeds arising from the sale of 50% plus 
one share of the financial services business and the net cash realised from the 
transfer of the financial services assets into the joint venture.               
It is also the intention of the directors, subject to prevailing market         
conditions to repurchase shares on the open market, from the balance of the     
The salient dates for the dividend will be as follows:                          
Last date to trade to receive dividend  Friday 5th December 2008                
Shares commence trading "ex" dividend   Monday 8th December 2008                
Record date                             Friday 12th December 2008               
Payment date                            Monday 15th December 2008               
Share certificates may not be dematerialised or rematerialised between Monday,  
8th December 2008 and Friday 12th December 2008, both days inclusive. In        
accordance with the company's articles of association, dividends amounting to   
less than R5.00 due to any one holder of the company's ordinary shares held in  
certificated form will not be paid, unless otherwise requested in writing, but  
will be aggregated with other such amounts and be donated to a charity nominated
by the directors.                                                               
Cape Town                                                                       
19 November 2008                                                                
RAND MERCHANT BANK (A division of FirstRand Bank Limited)                       
Date: 19/11/2008 14:34:14 Produced by the JSE SENS Department.                  
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information disseminated through SENS.                                          
Source: JSE Securities Exchange - SENS
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