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Pick n Pay Falls Most Since 2009 as First-Half Profit Slides

Pick n Pay Stores Ltd., South Africa’s second-largest grocer, fell the most in more than three years in Johannesburg trading after reporting a decline in first-half earnings.

The shares dropped as much as 6.6 percent, the steepest intraday slide since March 20, 2009. They were down 6.1 percent at 44 rand as of 2:23 p.m. in Johannesburg.

Per-share earnings fell by as much as 10 percent in the six months through August, while per-share earnings from continuing operations slid by between 25 percent and 35 percent, Cape Town-based Pick n Pay said in a stock exchange filing today. Sales rose 5.9 percent, while revenue at stores open for at least a year gained 3.2 percent.

“Lower than expected turnover growth is the result of increased market competiveness, poor availability of merchandise from suppliers and continued economic pressure” on customers, Pick n Pay said. “Although new store growth is still behind the market, store openings are weighted to the second half of this financial year and significant work is underway to strengthen the medium- to longer-term pipeline.”

The company expects to release first-half earnings Oct. 24.

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