SOUTH AFRICA – South African retail giant Woolworths, has reported that its group sales for the 52 weeks ended 27 June 2021, increased by 9.7% compared to a year earlier, and by 5.9% in constant currency terms.

According to the upmarket retailer, trading conditions in the second half of the financial year are not directly comparable to the prior year, given the extensive impact of the pandemic.

South Africa’s recovery during this phase of the Covid-19 pandemic has been set back by the onset of the third wave of infections occurring towards the end of the fourth quarter, the group warned.

The Woolworths Food business grew both market share and volumes during the period despite the high base set in the prior year driven by stockpiling ahead of the first lockdown.

Sales for year grew by 6.9%, and by 5.7% in comparable stores, on a price movement of 5.2% and underlying product inflation of 4.9%.

“Sales in the second half of the current year grew by 3.2%, and by 16.9% over a two-year period, reflective of the investment in innovation and our robust business model,” the group said.

Woolworths said that while there has been some reversion in customer shopping behaviour, frozen foods and groceries continue to deliver strong growth.

Woolworths’ food sales grew by 6.9%

“Due to the continued Covid-related trading restrictions, trade in cafes, and wine and beverages remains negatively impacted.

“We continue to invest in price in key product categories to improve our value proposition while remaining focused on product quality, innovation and convenience,” it said.

Online sales under the segment grew by 117.9% over the current year, contributing 2.3% to its South African Food sales.

This was further supported by the expanded Click-and-Collect offering and the rollout of its on-demand delivery service, Woolies Dash.

Total revenue for the current year increased by 3.5% and by 4.2% in comparable stores, while sales in the second half of the current year grew by 24.1% on last year’s non-comparable base.

Meanwhile, competitor retailors, Walmart and Massmart have committed more than R13 million (US$880,000) in cash and in-kind donations to hunger relief organisations supporting the areas affected by the recent unrest.

To initiate the commitment, Massmart is working with Gift of the Givers and FoodForward SA, which are supporting efforts in the impacted community of KwaZulu-Natal.

Working with these organizations, Massmart has already begun recovery efforts with an initial consignment of 90 tons of food including much-needed items like rice, baby formula, peanut butter, coffee, canned fish and maize meal – with many more to come.

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