Australia's top grocer Woolworths Ltd delivered a double-digit sales rise and steady growth outlook on Monday as investors, searching for cheer in a dour overall market, put the defensive stock in their shopping carts, Reuters reports. Woolworths reported a 10.1 per cent rise in sales to A$20.92 billion (US$10.7 billion) for 52 weeks to June 24, buoyed by an 11.4 per cent rise in fourth quarter sales. Shares in Woolworths, one of the market's favourites over the past year, bucked a weaker overall market to peak at A$10.50, up 2.8 percent, before closing up 28 cents at A$10.49.The shares closed two weeks ago at a record high A$11.14, nearly double its A$6 finish a year earlier. On a like-for-like basis, full-year sales grew 11 per cent to A$21.71 billion and fourth-quarter business expanded by 12.2 per cent to A$4.80 billion. Supermarkets, which make up 84 per cent of sales, improved sales by 11.4 per cent on a year ago.General merchandise grew 10.5 per cent for the full year to A$2.5 billion and rose 10.9 per cent in the fourth quarter from a year ago, when a rush to beat a new federal goods and services tax bloated sales results. Roger Corbett, chief executive for Woolworths, said the outlook for the supermarket and Big W general merchandise businesses was strong."In terms of our two major businesses, we're quite confident at this stage the trend remains as is,"he said. As measured by government food, liquor and grocery data, Woolworths' 24.6 per cent market share was modestly above 1999/00.