Trading update: 20 weeks ended 12 November 2017
Woolworths Holdings Limited
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)
Registration number 1929/001986/06
Share code: WHL
TRADING UPDATE: 20 WEEKS ENDED 12 NOVEMBER 2017
Group sales for the first 20 weeks of the 2018 financial year increased by 2.6% (3.1% in constant
currency terms) compared to the prior period. The difficult trading conditions experienced in both
South Africa and Australia during the last quarter of the previous financial year have continued into
the current period.
In South Africa, Woolworths Fashion, Beauty and Home (previously Clothing and General
Merchandise) sales increased by 0.7%, with price movement of 0.9%. Sales in comparable stores
declined by 2.4%. Trade was affected by the macro environment, which negatively impacted
consumer sentiment and discretionary spend. Retail space grew by a net 4.2%.
Woolworths Food sales in South Africa grew ahead of the market, up 9.3%, with price movement of
4.5% and positive volume growth. Sales in comparable stores grew by 5.3%, driven by price
investment and our ongoing focus on product quality and innovation. Retail space grew by a net
David Jones sales declined by 5.3% and by 5.2% in comparable stores (in Australian dollar terms).
Sales growth was impacted, but gross margin was protected, by the pull-forward of the end of season
winter sale into late June and a reduction in promotional activity throughout the period. Key
concession brands also reduced tactical campaign activity in David Jones to reduce discounting.
Disruption caused by the refurbishments of the Bondi Junction Food Hall and the Elizabeth Street
store, as well as from the implementation of the new inventory management system also impacted
trade. Sales in the last six weeks have shown an improving trend. Retail space reduced by a net
2.2% as we continue to drive space optimisation.
Country Road Group sales increased by 8.3% in Australian dollar terms. Sales in comparable stores
(which excludes Politix stores acquired in November 2016) declined by 0.4%, although market share
has improved. Trading space reduced by a net 2.0% during the period (excluding Politix). We opened
eight new Politix locations within David Jones stores and are seeing positive results from this
The Woolworths Financial Services debtors' book reflected positive year-on-year growth of 4.8% at
the end of October 2017, with strong growth in the credit card portfolio. The annualised impairment
rate for the four months ended 31 October 2017 reduced to 5.7% from 6.4% in 2017.
The Group's interim results for the 26-week period ended 24 December 2017 are scheduled to be
announced on the Stock Exchange News Service on or about 22 February 2018.
Reeza Isaacs (Group Finance Director) on 021 407 2464
Ralph Buddle on 021 407 3250
16 November 2017
RAND MERCHANT BANK (A division of FirstRand Bank Limited)
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