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Wal-Mart’s Massmart Sales Growth Climbs on Higher Home Spending

Massmart Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s biggest food and goods wholesaler, said sales growth rallied during the first half of the year as consumers spent more on building supplies amid a rise in the inflation rate.

The company, in which Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a controlling stake, said comparable sales climbed 7.1 percent in the 26 weeks through June 29, compared with a 5.5 percent rise in the first half a year earlier. Inflation for the period was estimated at 4.8 percent, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement. That compares with inflation of 2.9 percent in the prior period.

South African retail-sales growth grew 1.8 percent in April, accelerating from a revised 0.8 percent gain in March. The country’s inflation in May climbed to 6.6 percent, exceeding the central bank’s three percent to six percent target band for a second month.

Massmart, which owns the cash and carry chain Makro and DIY specialist Builders Warehouse, reversed a share price decline after the release of the statement. The stock climbed 0.3 percent to 139.99 rand as of 4:20 p.m. in Johannesburg. More than 458,000 shares traded, or 182 percent of the three-month daily average. The company will release full financial results for the period on Aug. 28.

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