Australia's grocery giant Woolworths Ltd. on Monday reported a positive jump in its full-year sales figures, lifted by a corresponding leap in its fourth quarter sales.
Woolworths Ltd. said total fourth quarter sales soared 5.1 per cent to $12.9 billion even as revenues were gnawed by the food price deflations.
"These results have been achieved at a time when our customers are benefiting from lower prices due to strong competition and continuing deflation across our businesses," Chief Executive Grant O'Brien said in a statement.
The April to June sales even beat forecasts and were in fact better than market expectations of A$12.8 billion.
Consequently, overall sales in the 12 months to June 30 registered a 4.7 per cent increase to $56.7 billion.
''The last quarter, in particular, was a stronger end to what was a challenging year,'' Mr O'Brien said. ''Retail conditions remained subdued due to consumer and business uncertainty and an unseasonably cold and wet summer period.''
Investors immediately rejoiced over the positive news, with shares surging by as much as 35 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $27.97, versus a general drop of 1 per cent for the overall market, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The retailer's sales in the food and liquor division, home improvement and petrol all gave off positive results, jumping at 3.8 per cent, 24.7 per cent and 11.4 per cent, respectively.
Encouraged by its positive figures, Woolworths Ltd. affirmed it will push through with its planned expansion programs amid the prevailing tough economic environment.
"Despite the tough economic times, we will continue to invest in developing new stores, building our multi-option infrastructure and building new businesses like Masters, which will benefit the whole community through additional jobs and economic growth," he said.
Woolworths Ltd., along with labor-stricken Coles, controls 80 per cent of Australia's grocery sector.
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