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Mr Price Rises as Sales Maintain Growth Rate: Johannesburg Mover

Mr Price Group Ltd., a South African clothing and furniture retailer, rallied the most in three weeks after sales growth in the four months through Aug. 3 kept pace with last year even as consumer spending slowed.

The stock rose as much as 2.8 percent, the biggest intraday gain since July 31, and traded 1.2 percent higher at 126.91 rand as of 4:32 p.m. in Johannesburg. Almost 2.7 million shares traded, or 3.3 times the three-month daily average.

Total sales for the 18 weeks advanced 14 percent, compared with 14.9 percent in the corresponding period a year ago. South African retailers including Shoprite Holdings Ltd. have reported a decline in revenue growth as household budgets have tightened and personal debt levels rose.

“While the current credit environment in South Africa remains challenging, the group is satisfied that the initiatives undertaken last year to reduce credit sales growth have not negatively impacted overall sales growth,” the Durban, South Africa-based company said in a statement.

Cash sales, which make up 79 percent of total revenue, rose

14.1 percent. That compares with credit sales growth of 13.7 percent. The clothing division, which accounts for almost three quarters of total sales, climbed 14.8 percent, in line with growth in the year-earlier period.

South African retail sales rose at the slowest pace in nine months in June as rising joblessness and bad debt weighed on spending. The number of South Africans with impaired credit records rose by 189,000 to 9.53 million in the first quarter, the National Credit Regulator said in June.

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