MELBOURNE Jan 31 Australian supermarket
operator Woolworths Ltd reported a 2.5 percent rise in
second-quarter same-store food and liquor sales on Thursday and
maintained earnings guidance for the year.
The result missed forecasts for a 2.8 percent rise,
according to a Reuters survey of seven analysts, and compares
with 3.9 percent growth in food and liquor sales at rival
Wesfarmers via its Coles supermarkets.
Woolworths and Coles -- which together control over 70
percent of Australia's grocery sector -- have slashed the cost
of basic items such as milk, bread and vegetables as they
Woolworths shares reached a five-year high of A$32.06
earlier this week.
(Reporting by Miranda Maxwell; Editing by Richard Pullin)