Shoprite Holdings Ltd., Africa’s largest food retailer, said sales growth slowed toward the end of its fiscal half through December after weaker consumer spending led to a tougher trading environment.
“The pace of growth in the first three months of the reporting period was not maintained in the second, when the retail sector as a whole experienced a slow-down,” Chief Executive Officer Whitey Basson said today in a stock-exchange statement.
Net income advanced 19 percent to 1.7 billion rand ($191 million) in the half-year period, from 1.43 billion rand a year earlier, the Cape Town-based company said in the statement. Sales rose 14 percent to 46.7 billion rand, with its core South African market underperforming with a 12 percent gain in a “sluggish trading environment”.
Shoprite shares fell as much as 3.3 percent, the most in more than two weeks, and were down 2.7 percent at 173.25 rand at 10:12 a.m. in Johannesburg. The company raised its dividend for the six month period by 13 percent to 123 cents a share.
Shoprite had an exchange-rate loss of 41.4 million rand, compared with a gain of 27.7 million rand a year earlier, as the Malawian kwacha slid.
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