Woolworths shares climb as Country Road, David Jones lift sales

By Janice Kew

Woolworths Holdings Ltd. (WHL) climbed the most in more than a week after the South African food and clothing retailer said Australian units Country Road and newly acquired David Jones Ltd. boosted sales.

The shares advanced as much as 4 percent, the biggest intraday gain since Jan. 6, and traded 2.9 percent higher at 78.45 rand as of 10:18 a.m. in Johannesburg.

Sales climbed 55 percent for the 26 weeks through Dec. 28, Cape Town-based Woolworths said in a statement today. Excluding the impact of David Jones, bought for $2 billion last year, revenue grew by 13 percent. Country Road sales in Australia and New Zealand increased by 8.2 percent.

“Country Road did particularly well and at David Jones, Woolworths is stemming losses since it made that purchase,” Alec Abraham, an analyst at Sasfin Securities, said by phone from Johannesburg. “The Country Road performance bodes well for a David Jones turnaround.”-Bloomberg