Bunnings delivers for Wesfarmers as Coles earnings slide

Photo: Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Wesfarmers posted a 22.1% lift in full year net profit after tax as home improvement chain Bunnings helped offset weaker earnings from supermarket Coles.

Statutory net profit after tax was $2.87 billion, a rise of 605.9%, but excluding significant items in 2016, profit rose 22.1%

Revenue was up 3.7% to $68.44 billion. Earnings per share increased 21.6% to a record $2.55 a share.

At Coles, EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) was down 13.5% to $1.61 billion and revenue flat at $39.21 billion.

Food and liquor recorded sales growth of 2% with comparable sales growth of 1%.

“In a very competitive environment, Coles invested in value, service, and better quality and availability in Fresh, to deliver continued growth in sales,” says managing director Richard Goyder.

The market share of the main supermarket players, including Coles’ competitor Woolworths, have been hit by discount players including Aldi.

But for Wesfarmers the growth continues at Bunnings where earnings increased 2.6% to $1.245 billion.

And the department stores division reported a 97.5% rise in earnings to $543 million, driven by continued strong growth in Kmart and improved performance in Target.

Goyder says the overall results demonstrate the strength of the group’s conglomerate structure, as well as a focus in cash generation and capital efficiency.

“A strong recovery in the performance of the industrials division reflected higher earnings across all three business units, and was driven in particular by higher coal prices and increased coal production in the Resources business,” he says.

He says retail earnings were also above the prior year, supported by continued strong momentum in Bunnings Australia and New Zealand, Kmart and Officeworks.

The company declared a fully franked final ordinary dividend of $1.20 a share, bringing the full-year payout to $2.23 a share, a 19.9% increase.

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