Australia’s largest supermarket operator Woolworths Ltd is looking for buyers for its upmarket Thomas Dux grocery stores, according to a Fairfax Media report on Tuesday.
The report said that Woolworths was asking for between A$10 million ($7.67 million) and A$20 million for the chain of 10 stores after putting it up for sale earlier this year. The retailer sought expressions of interest from trade buyers and private equity investors, the report said, citing industry sources.
Woolworths said it would not comment on speculation that the stores were up for sale.
The possible divestment of the gourmet grocery business comes after Woolworths slashed its profit forecast in mid-June. The retailer said at the time that it would cut 1,200 jobs and Chief Executive Grant O’Brien would step down.
Woolworths opened its first Thomas Dux store in Sydney in 2008. With high operating costs, the business only became profitable last year.
The retailer’s shares leapt as much as 5.6 percent on Friday amid unconfirmed market rumours that the company was a takeover target. ($1 = 1.3038 Australian dollars)