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Australia's Woolworths says H1 profit up 6pct, buys wine group

MELBOURNE, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Australia’s largest retailer Woolworths Ltd posted first-half net profit up 6 percent as its core supermarkets business outperformed weaker discretionary retail units.

It also announced it will buy wine direct marketer Cellarmasters from private equity firm Archer Capital for A$340 million.

Woolworths, which also owns discounter Big W and electronics chain Dick Smith, said net profit before one-offs rose to A$1.16 billion ($1.171 billion), from A$1.095 billion a year earlier.

That was above analyst forecasts of A$1.155 billion.

In January, Woolworths cut its earnings growth forecast for fiscal 2011 by as much as half, predicting cautious consumers would continue to spend less. (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and Balazs Koranyi)

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