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Clicks Gains Most in Four Years on Earnings: Johannesburg Mover

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Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Clicks Group Ltd., a South African beauty and pharmaceutical retailer, rose the most in four years after sales growth improved in the second half and the company offered more discounts.

Clicks shares gained as much as 8.4 percent to 60.91 rand, the biggest intraday gain since Oct. 23, 2009, and traded 7.7 percent higher as of 4:34 p.m. in Johannesburg. About 2.8 million shares traded, more than twice the three-month daily average.

Diluted earnings per share before one-time items climbed 9.2 percent to 298.6 cents ($0.31) in the year through August, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement today. That compares with an 8.5 percent gain in the first-half. The dividend was raised by 11 percent to 1.68 rand per share.

“With improving growth, concerns for the retailers are easing,” Henre Herselman, a derivatives trader at Nedbank Private Wealth in Johannesburg, said by phone today. “But conditions for consumers are still hard.”

South African retail sales growth unexpectedly quickened for a second month to 3 percent in August, Statistics South Africa said Oct. 16. Even so, consumer confidence reached a 10-year low in the third quarter, according to an index compiled by Johannesburg-based First National Bank and the Bureau for Economic Research.

Selling price inflation remained constrained and the company relied on discounts for growth, Chief Executive Officer David Kneale said by phone today.

“The worry is that consumers remain under pressure,” he said. “I can’t see that changing in the near term.”

Clicks plans to spend 338 million rand in the current fiscal year as it invests in automated systems, expands its wholesale and distribution unit and adds new stores.

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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