Woolies overcomes tough retail conditions to lift sales: Midday roundup

Supermarket giant Woolworths’ full-year sales figures show a strong fourth quarter overcoming the current retail slump.

The Woolworths group reported sales of $56.7 billion in the 2012 financial year, an increase of 4.7% on the previous year.

The key supermarket business recorded a 4.9% annual rise in sales, though much of this growth was driven by an 11.4% increase in petrol sales.

Excluding fuel, the Australian food and liquor business grew sales 3.8% over the past year, boosted by 1.3% growth in the fourth quarter.

Woolworths chief executive Grant O’Brien said he is pleased with the result.

“The result is underpinned by continued growth in customer numbers, market share and units sold. The last quarter in particular was a stronger end to what was a challenging year.”

PPI beats expectations

Producer prices rose in the June quarter, beating expectations, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The ABS producer price index rose 0.5% in the three months to the end of June, bouncing back from a fall in the March quarter.

Final PPI is now 1.1 % higher than in the previous corresponding period.

The PPI is a measure of inflation and can influence expectations for the more closely watched March quarter consumer price index, due out later this week.

Dulux lifts its offer for Alesco

Paint maker DuluxGroup has lifted its takeover offer for Alesco Corporation to $2.05 a share.

Dulux outlined its sweetened offer this morning, saying it would also allow Alesco shareholders to receive up to 18 cents a share in franking credits attached to dividends declared by the takeover target.

“This revised proposal will provide Alesco shareholders with total value of up to $2.23 per share,” Dulux said in a statement.

“A number of Alesco’s shareholders have indicated that they would highly value fully-franked dividends, which is why DuluxGroup has chosen to structure its revised offer in this way.”

Australian stock market opens lower

The Australian stock market opened almost 1% lower on the back of losses in Europe and the United States last week.

The losses are thought to be a case of some investors rushing to take profits after a week of gains and before the market fell due to fresh European concerns.

“A lack of data saw markets headline watching on Friday night and risk suffered a hit at the US open as the Valencia region in Spain asked the central government for help to repay its debts,” according to the ANZ morning report.

At the official market open, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.93% lower to 4159.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index slipped 0.91% to 4191.9 points.

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