Woolworths' supermarkerts earnings up 6%

SHARES in supermarket giant Woolworths surged on Thursday after the company announced a 19% increase in its first-half profit.

The $1.15 billion result helped boost the company's share price by almost 3%, with the price at $34.90 when the market closed.

Earnings from Woolworths' supermarkets was up 6% to $1.65 billion.

Net profit from continuing operations, excluding the sold electronics business Dick Smith, was up 4.2% at $1.25 billion. Sales from continuing operations was $30 billion, up almost 5%.

Shareholders will receive a full franked dividend of 62 cents, an increase of 5%.

Sales for the company's Masters Home Improvement business were up 54% to $637 million for the six months to December.

Woolworths also upgraded its full-year after tax result forecast to between 4-6%. The previous forecast had been for an after-tax profit of between 3-6%.



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