NT News

RETAILER SPLASHES THE CASH IN $2BN BUYBACK, DIVIDEND LIFT

- ELI GREENBLAT

WOOLWORTHS has rewarded investors with a $2bn share buyback as well as a 14.5 per cent lift in its final dividend, as strong supermarke­t sales and rocketing earnings at its once loss-making Big W chain fuel a record cash splash.

The nation’s biggest retailer has also benefited from the recent spate of lockdowns across the country, and especially NSW, as households fill up their pantries and eat out less, fuelling demand for groceries.

However, that was countered by the rising costs of making its stores Covid-safe and the impact of lockdowns on the strong sales and profit trajectory of Big W coming out of the 2021 fiscal year.

Overall, Woolworths’ bottom-line net profit came in at $2.07bn, up 77.8 per cent. Total sales at $67.27bn were up 5.7 per cent.

The company declared a final dividend to 55c a share, payable on October 8.

Woolworths has also started the 2022 fiscal year in a strong position, with sales at its flagship Australian supermarke­ts for the first eight weeks increasing by 4.5 per cent and ahead of market growth. “Covid costs have again increased, and for the first eight weeks, Group Covid costs have been approximat­ely $41m, or 0.5 per cent of sales,” chief executive Brad Banducci said. Mr Banducci also said he was worried about the disruption­s to global shipping and supply chains and the ability of retailers to get stock into the country, especially general merchandis­e.

Mr Banducci said as it became harder to secure shipping containers and efficientl­y pass those containers through ports and into its stores, retailers such as Big W might have to rethink their product offerings.

But food sales were powering ahead, better than expected, as households were in lockdown.

Its once loss-making Big W recorded earnings of $172m, up 344.9 per cent.

 ?? Picture: Adam Yip ?? Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci is worried about shipping disruption­s.
Picture: Adam Yip Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci is worried about shipping disruption­s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia