Coles in big profit lift

The head of Coles says Australians are still paying too much for groceries, as the supermarket posted a $1.5 billion full-year profit.

A 13 per cent rise in earnings from Coles helped its parent company Wesfarmers lift its annual profit announced yesterday by 6 per cent to $2.26 billion.

Coles and hardware chain Bunnings were the strongest contributors to the strong result but Target suffered a heavy fall in earnings.

Coles chief executive Ian McLeod indicated more discounting was possible.

"I'm still convinced that people in Australia are paying too much for some products that can be bought for less in other countries," he said.

Wesfarmers announced a $579 million cash handout to shareholders in a 50� a share capital return.

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