Pick n Pay Heads for Biggest Gain in Year on Annual Earnings

Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. headed for its biggest gain in a year in Johannesburg trading after the South African grocer said fiscal-2015 earnings per share rose as much as 50 percent.

Pick n Pay climbed as much as 6.1 percent to 53.94 rand and was trading up 4.8 percent at 53.27 rand as of 11:10 a.m., the steepest jump since April 22, 2014, based on closing prices. The stock has gained 1.3 percent this year, compared with a 1.7 percent increase at Shoprite Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s biggest grocer, and Woolworths Holdings Ltd.’s 17 percent surge.

Earnings per share for the 52 weeks through March 1 rose to as much as 183.02 cents, Cape Town-based Pick n Pay said Friday in a filing of preliminary numbers. The retailer will publish detailed financial figures on April 21.

South African shopping chains struggled last year as unemployment of about 25 percent, prolonged strikes and high levels of personal debt contributed to a contraction in household incomes. Shoprite said in February that rolling blackouts are its biggest concern for coming months as shoppers stay away and companies are compelled to pay for backup power.

Pick n Pay in 2013 hired Chief Executive Officer Richard Brasher, a former director at Tesco Plc, to lead a turnaround after costs spiraled and market share fell. Pick n Pay has been increasing the distribution of stock from a depot near its Cape Town headquarters and said in October that it planned to set up more than 80 new outlets in the second half, accelerating its store-opening program.

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