The Australian Shareholders' Association has called for resignations from the board of Coles Myer, the country's largest retailer, after the firm revealed results that were worse than expected.

The lobby group, which represents small retail investors, urged long-standing Coles Myer directors to "consider their positions seriously if they intend to stand for re-election" next month, adding that the company "is in desperate need of a board which can establish a clear strategy and focus for the management".

Full-year net profit fell sharply from A$301m to A$151m, while the general merchandise and apparel division posted a 73 per cent fall in earnings and accounted for A$182m in write-downs.

Disappointed chief executive, John Fletcher, said: "Clearly, whatever way you want to cut it, this is an unsatisfactory result for shareholders."

However, he said directors were confident the worst was over and profit growth would return in 2001/02.

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