Eswatini Daily News

Woolworths looks for growth despite load shedding

A Woolworths store

By Bahle Gama

The Woolworths Group expects a huge hike in earnings while fighting off load shedding as more people return to stores.

According to the Group’s trading statement, there have been significant growths in turnover and concession sales for the 20 weeks that ended on November 13. That is an increase of 23.3 per cent compared to last year. According to BusinessTech in South Africa, Woolworths’ Fashion Beauty Home (FBH) business had a great start to 2022 as its turnover and concession sales grew by 10.8 per cent and by 10.9 per cent when compared on a store basis.

The group reported its most profitable winter sale to date, with full-priced sales growing by 15.2 per cent and clearance sales down by more than 20 per cent, and that it is continuing to focus on improving the underlying financial health of its businesses, specifically the fashion, beauty, and
home sectors.

Despite their FBH business thriving, the group reported that trading space was reduced by 2.4 per cent over the prior period as online sales grew by 1.5 per cent, contributing to 4.2 per cent of South African sales. The company also announced that its Woolworth’s food business also saw a growing turnover and concession sales by 7.3 per cent and 5.1 per cent on a comparable store basis.

One of the most significant increases reported was the 26 per cent hike in online sales for groceries and other store goods. This contributed to 3.6 per cent of the group’s total South African sales aided by the expansion of its on-demand offering, Woolies Dash. The group said that this was notwithstanding the considerable disruption caused by load shedding as it has had a pronounced impact on their predominantly fresh categories across the business, said Woolworths.

Rolling blackouts reportedly contributed directly to foregone sales, an increase in production waste and a significant increase in diesel costs to support trade. The Group further reported that price movement averaged 6.3 per cent for the period, with underlying product inflation of 7.9 per cent, as it continues to invest in price to improve its overall value proposition. The trading space for its food business also increased compared to the year before by 3.2 per cent.

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