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Australia’s Coles first-half profit dips as COVID-related costs soar -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: After the removal of restrictive measures to stop the spread coronavirus disease in Sydney (COVID-19), customers are seen separated by protective plexiglass covers in the Self-Service Checkout area at Coles.

(Reuters). – Australia’s 2nd-largest Supermarket Chain Coles Group (OTC) reported Tuesday a drop of 2% in the first-half fiscal 2022 profit. Pandemic-induced expenses outweighed earnings due to consumers who stockpiled essentials at COVID-19 lockdowns.

Coles and Woolworths, a larger competitor, have capitalized on the demand for groceries from home shoppers. They also bought toilet paper in large quantities but were subject to lockdown disruptions that resulted in additional expenses.

COVID-19 costs were A$150million for the company’s first half, an increase of A$45million from the same period last year.

The Australian company operates over 800 retail outlets. It reported a half-year net profit of A$549million ($394.84million) compared to A$560million a year earlier.

Coles has declared an interim dividend at 33 Australian Cents per share. This is in line with last year’s payout.

($1 = 1.3904 Australian dollars)

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