2009/07/23
WHL - Woolworths Holdings - Trading Update For The 52 Weeks Ended 30 June 2009 [JSE Securities Exchange - SENS]
 
WOWOW                                                                           
WHL - Woolworths Holdings - Trading Update For The 52 Weeks Ended 30 June 2009  
And Trading Statement                                                           
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")                                        
TRADING UPDATE FOR THE 52 WEEKS ENDED 30 JUNE 2009 AND TRADING STATEMENT        
SALES UPDATE                                                                    
The Group's total sales for the 52 week period ended June 2009 (compared with   
the 52 week period of last year) showed a growth of 7.2%, with a comparable     
sales growth of 0.4%.  Comparing this year's 52 week period to last year's      
reported period of 53 weeks, group total sales grew by 5.5%.                    
Sales in the second half are in line with that experienced in the first half.   
The fourth quarter growth has shown signs of recovery.  Middle and upper        
income consumers have seen some relief with the reduction in interest rates;    
whilst fuel and food prices have remained relatively high. Woolworths           
customers are reacting positively to our competitive opening price point value  
lines.                                                                          
Country Road has shown good resilience in a tough Australian market and has     
delivered a strong sales growth.                                                
Sales performance by the retail operations of the group during the period was   
as follows:                                                                     
                                                                     Trading    
                                                                    space       
                Sales growth for     Comparable stores              growth at   
                the period           sales growth         Price     period end  
                                                        movement                
                  52 vs 52  52 vs 53   52 vs 52 52 vs 53                        
Woolworths retail      5.7%      3.9%      -0.6%    -2.4%                       
Clothing and           0.4%     -1.2%      -2.8%    -4.7%     2.5%      3.5%    
general                                                                         
merchandise                                                                     
Food                   9.3%      7.4%       1.0%    -0.7%     8.2%     11.0%    
Country Road          18.4%       n/a      10.4%      n/a               8.5%    
(AU$) *                                                                         
Total Group            7.2%      5.5%       0.4%    -1.3%                       
* Country Road did not have a 53 week in last year's reported period.           
Customers response to our value lines in Clothing and Foods has resulted in     
price movements of 2.5% and 8.2% respectively for the period.                   
Woolworths Financial Services closing debtors' books at June 2009 were 6.4% up  
against June 2008.  Bad debts were well controlled, with an impairment charge   
as a % of average gross receivables of 7.4% (June 2008:  9.5%).                 
EXPECTED FINANCIAL RESULTS                                                      
As outlined in the trading statement released on 20 May 2009, the group         
anticipated that the earnings per share ("EPS") for the year ended 30 June      
2009 ("this financial year") would show an improvement of more than 20% over    
last year.                                                                      
Comparing this financial year to the corresponding 52 week period in the prior  
year:                                                                           
we now estimate that EPS will be between 40% and 50% higher than the results    
of the prior year.  This is primarily due to  the profit made on the disposal   
of a 50% plus one share of Woolworths Financial Services to ABSA Group Limited  
on 1 October 2008 of R380 million; and                                          
growth in headline earnings per share for the period is unlikely to exceed 5%   
of the results of the prior year.  This takes into account STC of R75million    
(2008: R20million) on both the special dividend and share repurchases and an    
unrealised foreign exchange loss (after tax) of R57 million (2008:  R2 million  
gain) on the revaluation of foreign exchange contracts open at 30 June 2009.    
Comparing this financial year to the prior year's 53 week reported period, EPS  
will be between 30% and 40% higher than the prior period.                       
Shareholders are advised that the above information has not been reviewed or    
reported on by the group's external auditors.                                   
The group's results for the year ended 30 June 2009 are scheduled to be         
released on SENS on 27 August 2009.                                             
Contact:  Simon Susman (Chief Executive Officer) on 021 407 2700                
         Norman Thomson (Finance Director) on 021 407 3337                      
         Cherrie Lowe (Group Secretary) on 021 407 3160                         
Cape Town                                                                       
23 July 2009                                                                    
Merchant bank and sponsor                                                       
RAND MERCHANT BANK (A division of FirstRand Bank Limited)                       
Date: 23/07/2009 16:48:01 Produced by the JSE SENS Department.                  
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Source: JSE Securities Exchange - SENS
 
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