Woolworths is continuing to jump hurdles after experiencing some of the lowest levels of food inflation and the deflationary pressure felt as a result of the strong Australian dollar.

However, future outlook is a positive one as Woolworths’ much anticipated home improvement business will open its doors in less then a year’s time.

Addressing shareholders at the annual general meeting Woolworths chief executive Michael Luscombe said the company is looking forward to entering the $36 billion home improvement market.

“To say that we’re excited about this is something of an understatement. By our estimation, the market is worth some $36 billion and with just one single dominant big box player, so you can certainly appreciate the opportunity that lies ahead of us.” he said.

“We’re way ahead of our schedule to have 150 sites secured by 2014.”

According to Luscombe, the recent decision by the Victorian Government has helped fast track planning approvals on ten stores.

“From day one, they really grasped the extent of the investment in jobs and infrastructure and conducted a very diligent and thorough process to review the development applications,” he said.

Woolworths has also committed 10,000 hours of customer service training to help create a culture of service at the hardware retail business.

Luscombe also reaffirmed guidance for the net profit after tax for 2011, which is expected to grow in the range of 8 to 11 per cent.