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Massmart Rises Most in Three Months on Holiday Sales Relief

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Massmart Holdings Ltd., the South African food and goods wholesaler owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., climbed the most in more than three months after saying 2013 sales rose 9.7 percent.

The stock rallied as much as 5.4 percent, the biggest intraday gain since Sept. 30. It traded 4.8 percent higher at 131 rand as of 1:13 p.m. in Johannesburg, having declined 9.5 percent in December.

Massmart’s total sales in the 53 weeks to Dec. 29 climbed to 72.2 billion rand ($6.6 billion), the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. Sales comparing 52 weeks in 2013 to the 52 weeks to Dec. 23, 2012 were up 7.5 percent, it said. Same-store sales growth was 3.8 percent.

“The retailers depend on the holiday period, and while Christmas sales were quite weak, it seems there’s relief it wasn’t worse,” Henre Herselman, a derivatives trader at Nedbank Private Wealth in Johannesburg, said by phone today.

The company lost about 200 million rand of revenue because of store closures on Dec. 15, the day of Nelson Mandela’s funeral, or 0.3 percent of full-year sales, Massmart said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ana Monteiro in Johannesburg at amonteiro4@bloomberg.net

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

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