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Wesfarmers reports fall in annual profit due to COVID disruption

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News Tech: Aug 26 (Reuters) – Australian retail conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd (WES.AX) posted a 2.9% drop in annual profit on Friday, hurt by COVID-driven store closures, sticky supply chain bottlenecks and rising costs.

In Australia, government-mandated store closures in the first half of the year to quell COVID-19 outbreaks also contributed to higher expenses and led to staff absenteeism.

Retailers across the globe have been grappling with higher prices of raw materials, while inflation has also dented demand from consumers who have started prioritizing essentials.

“COVID-19 continued to present operational complexity and create increased trading variability during the year,” Wesfarmers said, referring to its home improvement chain Bunnings.

($1 = 1.4331 Australian dollars)

RegisterReporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni Source: Reuters Trust Principles.

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