Woolworths chairman to step down as profits slide
Woolworths chairman Ralph Waters will step down after the supermarket giant suffered a 12.5 per cent slide in its full-year profit.
Woolworths made a net profit of $2.15 billion for the year to June 30, down from $2.45 billion in 2013-14.
Mr Waters will leave the company on September 1, to be replaced by veteran company director and businessman Gordon Cairns.
His departure follows the announcement chief executive Grant O’Brien would step down once a successor is found.
The slide in full-year profit comes as the company’s supermarket sector faces tough competition from arch rival Coles and German retailer Aldi. Woolworths’ core food and liquor business lifted total sales 2.3 per cent for the year, while comparable sales were up just 0.7 per cent.
By comparison, Coles recorded a 5.3 per cent rise in total sales and a 3.9 per cent increase in comparable sales for the same period.
Woolworths spent more than $200 million on improving its supermarkets in the second half of the year, including lowering prices and improving the quality of its products.
The extra investment in the supermarket business contributed to the slide in net profit, which was also weighed down by other one-off costs, including $148 million linked to its efforts to turn around Big W and $43 million in redundancy costs.
Woolworths maintained its fully franked final dividend of 72 cents per share. AAP