Woolworths board members, group CEO Roy Bagattini and the senior executive team will forgo up to 30% of their fees and salaries over the next three months. Picture: JAMES OATWAY
Woolworths board members, group CEO Roy Bagattini and the senior executive team will forgo up to 30% of their fees and salaries over the next three months. Picture: JAMES OATWAY

Retailer Woolworths will continue to pay staff during the Covid-19 shutdown, while senior management may cut their salaries by almost a third over the next three months to provide additional support to employees.

Board members, group CEO Roy Bagattini and the group’s senior executive team will forgo up to 30% of their fees and salaries over the next three months, the group said in a trading update, reporting that temporary store closures is expected to reduce profits.

During the current lockdown period Woolworths will continue to pay all staff, and those who are part of the essential workforce will receive an additional appreciation payment, the group said.

Woolworths said it is cutting back on capital expenditure and prioritising online sales, but expects profits to fall by more than a fifth in its year to end-June.

The group reported that sales in its food business rose 27.6% in the four weeks to end-March, while sales at Woolworth’s fashion and home business fell 27.8% over the same period as customers shifted to essential products.

“The majority of our food stores currently remain open,” the group said. “Our strong supplier partnerships are ensuring a consistent supply of product during this critical time,” the statement reads.

Woolworths, whose share price has fallen 44.79% so far in 2020, expects to issue a more detailed trading update in the next few weeks.

In morning trade on Monday Woolworth’s share price was up 5.11% to R28.20.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za