Retailers across the world were among the worst affected by the pandemic, forced to close stores or not sell certain items like alcohol, while demand for formal attire also declined.
As lockdown restrictions ease, sales are starting to improve although consumer confidence in South Africa remains weak.
Woolworths said its South African food business, which accounts for just under half of total revenue, grew in terms of both market share and volume, with sales up by 6.9% compared to the prior year period. Comparable store sales rose 5.7%.
While customers have partly reverted to pre-pandemic shopping habits, frozen foods and groceries continue to deliver strong growth, the retailer added.
Sales at the fashion, beauty and home business were still constrained by lower demand for formal wear, the company said, as well as its moves to reduce shop floor space and simplify its private-label offerings.
Revenue in this segment, which contributes just over 16% of the total, rose by 3.5%, driven by a strong second half.
In Australia and New Zealand, upmarket department chain David Jones and clothing chain Country Road posted sales growth of 2.3% and 13.4% respectively. The two contribute a combined 36% of group revenue.
The retailer said 11 of its South African stores – nine in KwaZulu Natal province and two in Gauteng – had been looted and severely damaged during the country's worst unrest in years.
"Trading (in affected stores) will be dependent on the resumption of supply, logistics, and operational activities at these stores," it added.
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world's largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day.Go to: https://www.reuters.com/