Woolworths shares are rallying

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Woolworth shares surged as investors reacted to the retailer’s annual loss of $1.23 billion.

A short time ago, the shares were up 6.6% to $25.83.

Writedowns of more than $4 billion before tax on its hardware business and flat supermarket sales brought the group to its worst loss in 20 years.

However, investors were upbeat about the company’s exit from the loss-making home improvement business, closing the Masters hardware chain and selling off property.

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