Woolworths continues to focus on its strategic priorities, which were initially outlined in 2011, as it continues to see good momentum in its results.
The company reports in its financial report for 2013 that it achieved a net profit after of $2.3 billion, a 24.4 per cent increase from the previous year.
Meanwhile, total group sales achieved a 4.3 per cent growth to $59.6 billion. Total earnings were also up 8.3 per cent to $3.7 billion.
“While encountering challenging and uncertain economic conditions, we saw good momentum across the group with higher comparable sales and stronger profit growth,” managing director and CEO Grant O’Brien said.
The biggest growth was in its food and liquor division that achieved an 8.7 per cent growth from $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion for the full year.
Big W also experienced an improved earnings growth of 5.2 per cent from $224 million to $236 million. This was attributed to pleasing sales in its home, leisure, toys and sporting, and apparel categories. However, home entertainment was impacted by the prior year stimulus program but also by an 11.8 per cent deflation for the year.
Reported earlier on in the year the company’s joint venture with Lowes, Masters, continues to suffer a loss reporting losses before interest and tax for the full year of $138.9 million. According to the company, this was more than initially anticipated due to optimistic sales budgets, relatively higher wage costs for new store openings and lower gross margins due to the Masters’ sales mix and highly competitive trade segment. The company expect the losses for FY14 not to exceed the levels of this year.
O’Brien also outlined the company continues to make good progress on its strategic priorities, which includes extending its leadership in food and liquor; maximising shareholder value; maintaining a track record of building new businesses and putting in place fundamentals to ensure future growth.
“We are seeing good results from our Strategic Priorities that were laid out in 2011 which are building momentum across the group and give us confidence that we can generate sustainable long term profitable growth,” he said.
Subject to uncertainties, O’Brien said the company expects another year of profit growth with FY14 net profit after tax expected to increase 4 per cent to 7 per cent.
“We expect retail conditions to remain subdued in FY14 with ongoing consumer caution reflecting cost of living pressures, a flat job market and uncertainty created by the Federal Election despite historically low interest rates,” he said.
“We are hopeful that we may see a modest improvement in conditions over the course of the financial year.”