Clicks Group on Friday pointed to strong health and beauty retail trading as it reported an increase of 13.5 percent in diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) to 232 cents for the six months to February.
Clicks chief executive, David Kneale, said the Cape Town-based health and beauty focused retail and supply group gained market share in all core merchandise categories.
“The Clicks chain is more price competitive than ever and pharmacy, front shop health and beauty all recorded double digit sales growth for the half year,” Kneale said.
“The results were supported by buoyant Christmas trading where customers responded positively to our value promotions and differentiated product ranges.”
Group turnover increased by 8.5 percent to R13.1 billion and operating profit was 14.7 percent higher at R840 million.
The Clicks chain managed to increase sales 13.1 percent in the slowing consumer economy.
Clicks continued to expand its store network, reaching the 600 store milestone following the opening of 89 new stores.
The Clicks pharmacy network was increased to 459, remaining on track to achieve its goal of 800 stores in South Africa.
Capital expenditure of R249 million was invested during the first half, mainly in new stores and pharmacies, store refurbishments, supply chain and information technology.
The group has increased its capital investment for the financial year to a record level of R577 million to support the increased scale of the business.
United Pharmaceutical Distributors, the group’s pharmaceutical distributor, increased wholesale turnover by 9.6 percent with market share increasing to 24.6 percent.
The business delivered growth in operating profit of 22.1 percent through cost and inventory management.
On the outlook for the remainder of the financial year, Kneale said low economic growth, higher taxes and ongoing political turbulence would weigh negatively on disposable income and consumer sentiment in the months ahead.
An interim dividend has been increased by 15.8 percent to 88 cents per share.