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SYDNEY, Australia - Australia's largest supermarket group, Woolworths, today announced an 18 percent rise in annual net profit, The Associated Press reports. The company said it expects to keep growing in coming years.
Woolworths made a net profit of 563 million Australian dollars ($304 million) in the year to June 30, up from 477 million Australian dollars ($257 million) in the year earlier.
"We believe that our sales will grow in the high single digits and our earnings ... in the low double digits for the foreseeable future," the company said in a statement.
Woolworths' sales for the 2001-2002 financial year rose 17 percent to 24.5 billion Australian dollars ($13 billion) from 21 billion Australian dollars ($11 billion).
Woolworths said it expected to continue to add 15 to 25 new supermarkets each year for the foreseeable future.
The company added that the strength of its balance sheet also allowed it to "address larger acquisitions should they become available."