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Spar First-Half Profit Rises 12% as Liquor Chain Expands

May 15 (Bloomberg) -- Spar Group Ltd., a South African food and liquor retailer, said first-half profit climbed 12 percent as higher prices countered slower consumer spending.

Net income in the six months through March rose to 589.2 million rand ($64 million) from 523.8 million rand a year earlier, the Pinetown-based company said in statement today. Sales increased 9.5 percent to 24 billion rand. The company declared an interim dividend of 1.79 rand a share, 16 percent more than a year earlier.

Tops, Spar’s liquor unit, “continued to be the stand-out performer,” the company said. Spar added 25 Tops stores to bring the chain’s total to 561 outlets.

The central bank has kept the benchmark repurchase rate at 5 percent since a surprise cut in July, concerned that a weaker rand and rising gasoline prices will push inflation above its 3 percent to 6 percent target.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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