WHL - Woolworths Holdings Limited - Trading update and trading statement [JSE Securities Exchange - SENS]
WHL - Woolworths Holdings Limited - Trading update and trading statement        
WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS LIMITED                                                     
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)                                  
(Registration number 1929/001986/06)                                            
Share code: WHL ISIN: ZAE000063863                                              
("Woolworths" or "the Group")                                                   
TRADING UPDATE AND TRADING STATEMENT                                            
TRADING UPDATE                                                                  
Woolworths Holdings group sales increased by 8.1% for the 20 weeks ended 15     
November 2009, with a growth of 3.8% in comparable stores.                      
The improvement in sales experienced in the fourth quarter of our last financial
year, has continued into the new financial year.                                
                      Sales growth   Comparable  Price       Growth in          
                                     stores      movement    space              
Woolworths SA Retail:  8.3%           4.5%                                      
- Clothing and        7.9%           5.0%        9.2%        4.8%               
general merchandise                                                             
- Food                8.9%           4.4%        6.7%        6.8%               
Country Road A$        12.7%          3.6%                    12.5%             
Country Road (Rand)    6.1%           -2.5%                                     
Group                  8.1%           3.8%                                      
The increase in the price movement of clothing and general merchandise has been 
driven by the higher exchange rates incurred at the time the current summer     
season was procured.                                                            
Price movement in our foods business has shown a steady decline to a current    
rate of 6.7%.                                                                   
The Woolworths Financial Services book has grown 3.9% year on year, at the end  
of October 2009. The impairment rate for the four months ending October is 8.2%.
We are expecting impairments to continue deteriorating over the next six months 
before improving considerably.                                                  
Economic conditions remain tough and are expected to remain as such for the     
remaining of the 2010 financial year. There does appear to be some improvement  
in confidence in the higher income customer. We will continue to focus on       
managing costs and controlling stock during the period.                         
TRADING STATEMENT                                                               
The directors of Woolworths refer to the trading statement published on 26      
August 2009.                                                                    
A comparison of the results for the six months ending December 2009 to the      
corresponding reporting period of last year will be affected by the profit of   
R380m earned on the disposal of a 50% plus one share of Woolworths financial    
services to ABSA Group Limited on 1 October 2008. Consequently, earnings per    
share ("EPS") will be more than 20% lower than the corresponding reporting      
period of the previous year.                                                    
Due to the significance of the peak retail trading season, it is not possible to
quantify the impact on EPS within the 20% range required by the JSE Limited     
("JSE") Listings Requirements with a reasonable degree of certainty or to       
provide guidance on headline earnings per share ("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 financial information contained in this       
announcement has neither been reviewed or reported on by the external auditors, 
and that the Group's interim results for the six months ending 31 December 2009 
are scheduled to be announced on SENS on or about 18 February 2010.             
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                                                                       
19 November 2009                                                                
RAND MERCHANT BANK (A division of FirstRand Bank Limited)                       
Date: 19/11/2009 15:55:01 Produced by the JSE SENS Department.                  
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