But continues to be hurt by Big W.

Woolworths Group has reported a 174.6% turnaround in profit from a loss of $972.7 million to a profit of $725.3 million for HY17. However, it suffered a 16.7% slide in net profit after tax (NPAT) to $785.7 million for the 27 weeks ended 1 January, 2017, although sales were lifted by 2.6% to $29.01 billion.

Woolworths CEO, Brad Banducci said, “We have made good progress on our key group priorities during the half. Particularly pleasing was the improvement in sales momentum in Australian Food, especially in the second quarter.”

“Big W reported a loss before interest and tax of $27.2 million in HY17 which includes a non-cash charge of $35.3 million. Trading EBIT declined 88.9% to $8.1 million and was impacted by lower comparable sales during the half. We are currently reviewing the Big W strategic plan and this will be completed in the next few months,” he added.

Big W sales for the half were $2.1 billion, a decrease of 6.3% year-on-year. Despite this, promotional initiatives helped to drive a solid sales improvement in the back half of December thanks to sell-through of seasonal product.

Toys and entertainment continued to perform relatively better while fashion, consumables and home and beauty were below expectations.

Woolworths does not expect any improvement in Big W’s trading performance in H2 2017 relative to H2 2016.