Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

S&P Global Ratings said on Tuesday it could downgrade southern hemisphere retailer Woolworths again if its position in the nonfood markets in SA and Australia weakens further. The ratings agency was commenting after announcing it had downgraded its rating on Woolworths from AA, which means it has a strong capacity to meet its financial commitments, to one notch below A+, which means the retailer has a strong capacity to meet its financial commitments but is susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances. On S&P’s scale BBB and above is investment grade. The drop in profitability caused by the weak performances in Woolworths’ non-food businesses in Australia and SA prompted the downgrade. "Woolworths Holdings continues to face challenging macroeconomic and trading conditions in SA and intense competitive pressure and structural changes in Australia," said the ratings agency. Last month the retail chain, a favourite among upper-income consumers in SA, reported...

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