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Mr Price Leads Retailers Down as Sales Growth Lags Inflation

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Mr Price Group Ltd., a South African clothing and household goods retailer, led declines among clothing retailers after reporting quarterly same-store sales growth lower than the rise in the price of its products.

Mr Price fell 2.8 percent, the biggest fall in more than two months, to 158.50 rand by the market close in Johannesburg. Truworths International Ltd. declined 0.8 percent, while The Foschini Group Ltd. slid 0.6 percent.

Comparable-store sales at Mr Price increased 10.5 percent in the three months through December, compared with selling price inflation of 10.8 percent, the Durban-based company said in a statement today. The clothing division, which accounts for almost 75 percent of sales, rose 12.3 percent, while the home unit had same-store sales of 5.5 percent.

“The slow growth in the apparel division and negative growth in its home is disappointing,” Alec Abraham, an analyst at Afrifocus Securities in Johannesburg, said by phone.

Truworths sales increased 7.1 percent in the half year through Dec. 29, compared with 14.8 percent growth in the same period in 2012, the Cape Town company said in a statement after the market closed. Comparable-store sales were up 1.1%, while product inflation was 7 percent.

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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