By Stuart Condie
SYDNEY--Wesfarmers Ltd. expects first-half revenue at its discount department stores to fall 10% on year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The retail and industrial conglomerate said Kmart and Target stores' combined sales for the six months through December would be 5.2% lower than the same period in the 2019 calendar year. That was the last reporting period before Covid-19 upended Australian retail.
Wesfarmers anticipates pre-tax earnings from the stores of between 215 million (US$155.0 million) and 223 million in its fiscal first half. Customer store traffic remained subdued at the start of its fiscal second-half and staff absenteeism was also an issue, it added.
"Ongoing global supply chain disruptions were well-managed during the period as a result of investments made to hold additional inventory domestically, but high levels of Covid-related absenteeism in New South Wales and Victorian distribution centers impacted the ability to deliver stock to stores," Wesfarmers said.
Wesfarmers expects to report a six-month group net profit of between A$1.18 billion and A$1.24 billion, which it said was in-line with the average analyst forecast. It said sales at its Officeworks stores had been hit by the pandemic, but that its Bunnings hardware chain and industrial operations showed pleasing results.
Wesfarmers will release its first-half results on Feb. 17.
Write to Stuart Condie at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires