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")
TRADING UPDATE, TRADING STATEMENT AND DISTRIBUTION BY WAY OF A SPECIAL DIVIDEND
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
Woolworths 6.6% (1.5)%
- Clothing 1.8% (2.5)% 0.5% 7.8%
- 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.
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.
DISTRIBUTION BY WAY OF A SPECIAL DIVIDEND TO SHAREHOLDERS
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.
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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