By Mike Cherney

SYDNEY--Australian grocer Woolworths reported a large half-year loss, reflecting various one-time writedowns, and said that its longtime chief executive would retire.

Woolworths said its net loss for the roughly six months through December was 781 million Australian dollars (US$511 million), reflecting a previously flagged writedown of its New Zealand business and a loss tied to its investment in drinks and hotel company Endeavour. The figure compares to a net profit of A$845 million a year ago.

Stripping out the one-time items, however, net profit grew 2.5% to A$929 million. Revenue grew 4.4% in the half to A$34.63 billion, slightly ahead of market expectations of A$34.58 billion, as assessed by FactSet.

Despite the statutory loss, Woolworths said its interim dividend would be 47 Australian cents per share, up 2.2% and in line with profit growth before significant items.

The result was driven by the main Australian food unit, which recorded sales growth of 5.4% in the half. Discount chain Big W, however, posted a sales decline of 4.1%.

Brad Banducci, the company's CEO, will retire after 13 years at the company and eight and a half as CEO. He plans to leave in September. Woolworths said he will be replaced by Amanda Bardwell, who has led the company's digital arm WooliesX.

Write to Mike Cherney at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-20-24 1712ET