SYDNEY, AAP – Retail and industrial conglomerate Wesfarmers has reported a 12.7 per cent drop in its interim profit to $1.21 billion in what the company described as the most disrupting period of the pandemic.

The Perth-headquartered company that owns major chains including Bunnings, Officeworks, and Kmart Group – which includes Target – declared a weaker dividend of 80 cents per share, down from 88 cents previously.

While earnings delivered by its hardware stores proved resilient in the six months to December, the Kmart and Officeworks businesses suffered significantly due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“The first half of the 2022 financial year was the most disrupted period for our businesses since the onset of COVID-19, with extended government mandated store closures and trading restrictions in Australia and New Zealand,” Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said in a statement.