Mr Price Profit Gains as Clothes Retailer Focuses on Cash Sales

Mr Price Group Ltd., a South African clothing and household-goods retailer, said its focus on cash transactions helped lift profit 23 percent as the company avoided potentially costly non-payments of debt.

Net income rose to 2.29 billion rand ($187 million) in the year through March 28 and cash sales advanced by 15 percent, beating credit sales growth of 7.5 percent, the Durban, South Africa-based company said in a statement on Tuesday. Mr Price raised the full-year dividend by 20 percent to 5.80 rand a share.

South African retailers have been struggling as consumer spending slides amid unemployment of more than 25 percent and economic growth that’s been held back by power shortages.

“We are very satisfied with the results achieved in an environment in which the economy and consumers are struggling,” Chief Executive Officer Stuart Bird said in the statement. Cash sales made up almost 82 percent of Mr Price’s total revenue, the company said.

Mr Price is “actively seeking new markets,” and will open its first test store in Australia in the second half of the new financial year, it said. South African competitor Woolworths Holdings Ltd. expanded into the southern hemisphere country last year with the $2 billion purchase of David Jones.

The stock rose 1.7 percent to 234 rand as of 2:44 p.m. in Johannesburg. The company has slid 0.4 percent this year, the worst performer and only decliner on the 10-member FTSE/JSE Africa General Retailers Index.

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