Business News 18.10.2016 09:51 am

Pick ‘n Pay lifts profit despite tough times

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The period of six months to August 28 was characterised by sluggish economic growth and low consumer confidence, the retail giant says.

Pick ‘n Pay stores on Tuesday shrugged off a “challenging trading environment” to report a 23.7 percent improvement in headline earnings per share, from 66.62 cents to 82.43 cents, for the six months to August 28.

Noting that this was its seventh consecutive reporting period of headline earnings growth of more than 20 percent, the grocer said profit for the period was R381.8 million, an 18.4 percent improvement on R322.5 million in the corresponding period last time. Turnover was R37.4 billion, 7.2 percent up on R34.9 billion.

Pick ‘n Pay said the period under review was characterised by sluggish economic growth, depressed consumer confidence and heightened competition. Still, the company said, it had managed to improve its trading profit margin had from 1.3 percent to 1.5 percent of turnover.

A statement from the group pointed to strong financial control and tight management of costs. It said growth in like-for-like trading expenses had been restricted to 3.8 percent, against CPI for the period of 6.1 percent, “notwithstanding high regulatory increases in electricity, rates and other utilities”.

The group said efficiency gains and cost savings across its procurement and supply chain channel had “created headroom for price investment at a time when customers faced acute pressure from inflation”.

Selling price inflation had been contained at 5.5 percent, compared with CPI food inflation of 10.7 percent.

The statement added things look slightly better ahead.

“The group is encouraged that the high levels of food inflation seen in recent months are beginning to alleviate. This should bring some welcome respite to customers.”

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