Coles supermarkets owner Wesfarmers posted a 3.7% fall in net profit to $1.376 billion for the first half.
However, this included the results from discontinued operations such as the Wesfarmers insurance business which was sold to IAG.
Excluding those operations, Wesfarmers recorded a net profit increase of 8.3%.
Operating revenue was $32 billion, up 4% on continuing operations.
“Despite variability in the domestic economy and volatility in global markets, the group delivered a pleasing increase in underlying earnings in the half which demonstrated the benefits of its conglomerate structure,” says CEO Richard Goyder.
“The trading momentum of our retail businesses improved through the half, culminating in a strong performance in the important Christmas period.”
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) at Coles increased 7.1% to $895 million on overall sales growth of 2.8%. Food and liquor sales grew 5.3%.
Bunnings’ earnings increased 10% to $618 million on sales growth of 11.9%. Kmart’s earnings grew 11.2% to $289 million on sales growth of 5.3%.
The interim dividend was increased four cents a share to 89 cents.