November 20, 2014 / 10:03 AM / 3 years ago

S.Africa's Woolworths 20-week sales jump 48 pct on Australia deal

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 20 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Woolworths Holdings reported a 48 percent jump in sales for the first 20 weeks of its financial year on Thursday, lifted by the acquisition of Australia’s David Jones.

Woolworths, a high-end retailer whose products range from ostrich burgers to organic cotton socks, has been able to ride out a downturn in consumer spending thanks to its core market of affluent shoppers.

The company acquired Australia’s second-largest apparel retailer earlier this year, creating a southern hemisphere powerhouse with an estimated $5.6 billion in annual sales.

Excluding the impact of David Jones, sales for the 20 weeks to Nov.16 rose 11.9 percent, Woolworths said in a statement, below the 14 percent full-year sales growth it posted in August.

Shares of the retailer slumped nearly 3 percent by 0952 GMT as investors focused on the slower growth at home. Woolworths’ shares are up around 11 percent this year, outperforming a 6 percent increase in the benchmark Top-40 index. (Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Joe Brock)

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