Finance Woolworths profit clipped by 1.2 per cent as pandemic bites

Woolworths profit clipped by 1.2 per cent as pandemic bites

woolworths antigen testing
Woolworths says it will take its rapid antigen testing program nationwide after success in Sydney. Photo: AAP
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Woolworths has cut its final dividend after the coronavirus pandemic and large one-off costs ate away at a boom in sales.

The retailer recorded a 1.2 per cent hit to its profits as COVID-19 pummeled the supermarket giant’s hotels division.

Profits were $1.6 billion on total sales of $63.7 billion in 2019/20, an annual increase of 8.1 per cent.

Group online sales soared 41.8 per cent to $3.5 billion as people flocked to online shopping.

Woolworths said despite strong sales across its food businesses, the closure of its hotels and costs associated with coronavirus impacted on the group’s earnings in the second half of the financial year.

Chief executive Brad Banducci said the year tested the company’s resilience and “will forever change the way we live and work”.

“We were impacted by the ongoing drought, devastating busfires, New Zealand’s White Island volcanic disaster, unrest in Hong Kong and the COVID-19 crisis,” he said on Thursday.

The group paid a final dividend of 48 cents per share.

-with AAP