Woolworths’ recovery from its diverting Masters debacle is on track, with first-half profit jumping 38 per cent to $969 million.
Underlying earnings rose almost 15 per cent to $902 million on the back of a 3.8 per cent increase in sales.
Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said while the results were promising, there was still work to do.
“At the end of the 2017 financial year, we said that we were moving from turnaround to transformation,” Mr Banducci told investors.
“In the current half we have seen some early signs of this transformation with good progress on a number of strategic initiatives and pleasing sales growth from all our businesses.”
Two years ago Woolworths reported its first full year loss of $1.24 billion, weighed down by massive write-downs from its messy exit from its Masters hardware foray.
At the time, underlying sales across the business were falling as management became increasingly distracted with its problems with Masters.
This time around sales appear to be picking up with 5.1 per cent in the important Australian food division — a result which was ahead of market expectations.
Investors were rewarded with a 26 per cent boost in interim dividend, up from 34 cent per share to 43 cents.