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Woolworths bears $1bn loss

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Woolworths has posted a $1bn loss in the first half, but perhaps new boss Brad Banducci can nurse the business back to health.

In January the Australian group decided to axe Masters, its home improvement big box retail offer, a move that will cost $3.25bn before tax in a one-off impairment.

Revenue from Australian food, liquor and petrol declined 2.58% to $24.96bn.

Banducci will take over as Chief Exec immediately. His predecessor Grant O’Brien said he was leaving in June after his plan to restore the business failed.

Banducci has been running Woolworths’ supermarkets division and prior to that headed up the Dan Murphy’s liquor stores.

“We undertook a rigorous international search process to find the best person to rebuild the Woolworths business and return it to sustainable growth,” said Chairman Gordon Cairns.

“While there were several strong candidates, the board was unanimous that Brad was the strongest of the field.”

Banducci will have his work cut out for him. In a statement to the ASX, Woolworths admitted that it saw no improvement in supermarket sales in line with intense competition from Coles and value retailers like Aldi.

“Despite the financial performance, we are making progress in the rebuilding of Woolworths,” the ASX statement said.

“We are not anticipating a significant improvement in comparable sales in Australian supermarkets in the second half with the market likely to remain competitive and price deflation likely to continue.”

Published on Friday 26 February by Veebs Sabharwal

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