Woolworths Holdings [JSE:WHL] on Thursday announced results for the 26 weeks ended 23 December 2018.
Group sales for the first 26 weeks of the 2019 financial year were R39.4bn, an increase of 1.9%, and profit before tax was R2.6bn compared to a loss of R4.1bn in 2018.
Adjusted profit before tax of R2.7bn was down 9.2%, with headline earnings per share down 2.9% to 200.4cps. Earnings per share increased to 197.5cps.
Group CEO Ian Moir said in a statement that, "despite challenging economic and trading conditions in both South Africa and Australia, our businesses maintain their leadership positions in each of their markets".
"Our Woolworths Foods business again delivered a market-leading performance and the Country Road Group delivered a strong result, both in term of sales and profit," said Moir.
"David Jones saw growth over the period, despite significant disruption during the ongoing renovation of our Elizabeth Street flagship store, and we are starting to see encouraging signs of a turnaround in Woolworths Fashion, Beauty and Home."
Moir is confident that the right strategies are in place to address the significant cyclical and structural changes taking place in retail, and said the focus is on the execution necessary to deliver a future-fit business capable of long term, profitable growth.
The board has declared an interim cash dividend of 92 cents per share.
By early morning trade on Thursday Woolworths shares were trading down 2.55% at R44.34 per share.