SYDNEY Feb 6 Australia's largest supermarket
chain Woolworths Ltd said on Thursday sales rose 6
percent in the first half of the year, as online sales surged
past A$1 billion ($892 million) for calendar 2013.
Group sales from continuing operations for the half-year
ended Dec. 31 rose to A$31.84 billion including petrol, up from
A$30.04 billion a year ago, the company said in a statement.
Woolworths and Wesfarmers Ltd-owned Coles, which
together control 80 percent of Australia's supermarket sector,
are expecting a pick up in trading this year as consumer
sentiment improves following a tough 2013.
Shares in Woolworths were steady at A$33.92 in early trade,
down from a peak of A$36.84 last April.
($1 = 1.1214 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Jane Wardell; Editing by Richard Pullin)