Household furniture and electrical appliances group Lewis said on Wednesday its merchandise sales were up 9.9 percent to R2.9 billion, but gross profit margin dipped to 41.4 percent from 42.4 percent in the year to March 31.
Headline earnings per share were 24.3 percent lower at 302.6 cents, said Lewis, a credit retailer which sells furniture and electrical appliances through trading brands Lewis, Best Home and Electric and Beares.
In February Lewis Stores, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the group, obtained control of United Furniture Outlets (UFO), a cash furniture retailer, by acquiring 100 percent of the issued ordinary share capital.
On Wednesday Lewis Group declared a final gross cash dividend of 100 cents per share payable to holders of ordinary shares.
It said it expected the sales momentum to continue into the new financial year and that the favourable outcome of a clothing industry court challenge on the affordability assessment regulations of the National Credit Regulator would benefit credit sales.
“Prospective creditworthy self-employed and informally employed customers who were not able to supply payslips or bank statements are no longer required to provide this level of documentary proof of income,” Lewis said.
“The group will provide credit to these customers in a responsible manner.”
The UFO acquisition was central to the group’s strategy to diversify across market segments and retail channels, it said.
“The group plans to open a net 15 stores across all brands in the year ahead, while continuing to close marginal stores in the Lewis brand,” said Lewis.
Listed in the general retailers’ sector on the JSE since 2004, Lewis has 761 stores across all metropolitan areas and has a strong presence in rural South Africa. It targets customers in the fast-growing middle to lower income market.
– African News Agency (ANA)