Africa’s biggest consumer goods retailer, Shoprite, has announced that the group’s turnover for the 12 months to June had surged 10.5 percent to R102.2 billion ($9.5 billion).
However, the continued pressure on consumers’ disposable income reflected in the slow-down in sales in its South African supermarket division, the largest division in the group, which grew sales by only 8.7 percent.
The turnover of the 169 supermarkets the group operates outside the borders of South Africa, surged 26.8 percent compared to the 2013 reporting period.
“Taken at constant currencies these operations grew by 16.2 percent,” CEO Whitey Basson said when the company released a trading update on Monday.
“The furniture division grew turnover by 12.2 percent even though the highly competitive market conditions remained unchanged,” Basson said.
Earlier this year, Shoprite said that 13 shops will start operating in Sub-Saharan Africa (outside South Africa) by the end of the current financial year.
This will increase the number of stores in Africa but outside South Africa to 163 shops, it said. In the past financial year Shoprite opened 10 new supermarkets outside South Africa.
Shoprite’s non South African stores continued their robust growth in the six months to December through the 15 countries where it has operations, according to Shoprite.
In the six months ended December 2013, Shoprite said African sales outside of South Africa surged 28,1 percent in rand terms and “14,9% in constant currencies.”
Whitey Basson, the CEO of Shoprite, said this growth was boosted by the weak rand against the US dollar than did paper money of some African states in which Shoprite has operations.
But Shoprite posted an overall 8 percent surge in headline earnings a share in the period under review, described as the lowest interim profit increase in eight years.
The blame for this poor performance during the period has been lay squarely on the door of major job losses, high consumers’ indebtedness and high petrol prices in South Africa.
Basson admitted in Johannesburg that this particular interim period had been a very tough one.