Clicks Sales Jump 12% Over Christmas as Consumer Spending Muted

Clicks Group Ltd., a South African health-care retailer and pharmacy chain-owner, said sales for the 18 weeks to Dec. 30 rose 12 percent as consumer spending remained muted over the Christmas period.

Revenue was 6.0 billion rand ($670 million), up from 5.3 billion last year, the Cape Town-based company said in a statement. Sales at its chain of stores advanced by 8 percent compared with a similar increase a year earlier. Sales growth at its Musica division, a seller of DVDs and CDs, declined to 1 percent from 5.2 percent a year earlier as it closed seven stores over the period.

“The trend of consumers delaying their purchases until closer to Christmas continued while consumers were increasingly value conscious this festive season,” Chief Executive Officer David Kneale said in the statement. United Pharmaceutical Distributors, another Clicks unit, reported sales growth of 20 percent over the period.

The South African economy probably expanded at the slowest pace since the 2009 recession last year, putting pressure on consumer spending. Fellow South African retailers Mr Price Group Ltd. and Shoprite Holdings Ltd. put out worse-than-expected trading updates last week, causing a sell-off in retail stocks.

Clicks rose 0.4 percent to 58.20 rand by 10:36 a.m. in Johannesburg. It has declined 11 percent to three-month lows in the year to date. The company will release its financial results for the half year through February on or about April 25, it said.

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