Supermarket chain Woolworths Limited has announced a 13.7% rise in earnings before interest and tax to AU$613.8m (US$486.22) for the half year ended 11 January 2004, with sales from continuing operations up 7.6% at AU$14.975m.

"Woolworths has again delivered double digit earnings growth and increased dividends in very competitive retail market conditions," said chairman James Strong

"One of the key elements in Woolworths' strategies is continuous cost reductions," he said. "Over recent years price reductions to customers have driven sales growth which in turn has led to increased profit growth."