South African retailer Woolworths’ sales to increase amid tough conditions

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African retailer Woolworths said on Wednesday it expects to report sales rose 4.7% in the 20-weeks ending Nov. 12 as it invested in its core businesses and newer products.

The food, fashion and beauty retailer, which targets the mid- to upper-income segment of the country, had been leaking market share to rival Shoprite.

Woolworth said sales for the period will be up 4.7% compared with the prior year result, which was restated to exclude a contribution from Australian fashion brand David Jones, which was sold in December 2022.

The company’s South African operations had been hit by a violent taxi strike in the Western Cape province, home to Cape Town, in the reporting period.

It also had to contend with port congestion, long power cuts, as well as Avian flu, which hit the supply of poultry and eggs in its food business, it said.

These were further compounded by higher interest rates and the high cost of living in both Australia and South Africa.

Sales on an overall basis are expected to have fallen by 22.4% compared with the same period a year ago, which included a contribution from David Jones.

(Reporting by Tannur Anders; Editing by Sharon Singleton; Editing by Promit Mukherjee)