Coles Myer, Australia's largest retailer, has received a "highly conditional proposal" for the company from a consortium of private equity buyers. Reports suggest that private equity groups Carlyle, Newbridge Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and CVC Asia Pacific are behind the proposal. Rick Allert, chairman of Coles Myer, said: "The board will undertake proper consideration of the proposal and will not be pressured by market speculation to take actions not in the best interests of shareholders." Last week the group reported full-year sales to 30 July up 5.7% at AU$34.4bn (£14bn) and a 3.5% rise in like-for-like sales.
Nestlé has reported an 11.4% rise in half-year net profit to CHF4.2bn (£1.79bn) on sales up 11% to CHF47.1bn. The food giant said that there was strong growth in the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa. In Europe, it reported sales of CHF12.8bn - its strongest growth since 2002. Peter Brabeck-Lethe, chairman and chief executive, said: "During the first half of 2006 the group delivered excellent levels of growth and profit margin, which was made possible by the strong performance of our food, beverage and nutrition business."
Less than a month after exiting the German market and three months after leaving South Korea, Wal-Mart's Japanese subsidiary Seiyu has reported that its half-year net loss widened to ¥54.03bn (£246m) from ¥10.59bn a year earlier, on sales down 2.9% to ¥467.94bn. The loss was blamed on restructuring costs and weaker revenue. Ed Kolodzieski, CEO of Seiyu, denied reports that Wal-Mart would leave the country. "Japan is a key market and has growth opportunities," he said.
Supermarket chain Woolworths' profit has broken the A$1.01bn barrier for the first time. In full-year results to June, the retailer reported a 24.3% increase in net profit to A$1bn (£400m) on sales up 20.4% to A$37.7bn. Food and drink sales in Australia rose 8% to A$25.6bn and the group promised to drive down costs in New Zealand. Roger Corbett, chief executive, said: "It was a strong result against a backdrop of tighter discretionary spending with our newly acquired businesses."
Supermarket group Shoprite's full-year trading profit to June rose 21.3% to R1.253bn (£93m) on total sales up 12.8% to R33.511bn. The group, currently being hit with strikes by members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union over pay disputes, said that turnover at its Shoprite stores rose 12.4%.
Lindt & Sprüngli has reported a 17.2% increase in half-year sales to June of CHF983.4m (£421.9m). The chocolate maker also said that net profit during the period rose from CHF3.9m last year to CHF9.9m this year. It added that despite the impact of the hot summer in Europe and the US, it expected its full-year sales to increase by 10-12%.