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Massmart shares slide after sales update

Shares down 5% at R93.04.

JOHANNESBURG – Shares in South Africa’s Massmart fell more than six percent on Thursday after a trading update showed full-year sales fell short of analyst expectations.

The Walmart-controlled retailer said sales for the year to the end of December rose 8.4% to R84.7 billion ($5 billion). That was below than an average forecast for 9.2% growth in a survey of 11 analysts.

“Massmart sales growth slowed down a lot due to consumers being under pressure,” said retail analyst Syd Vianello.

Retailers in Africa’s most advanced economy are struggling to boost sales growth as shoppers battle high personal debt levels and rising energy prices due to local currency weakness.

In the first half of 2015, Massmart sales rose 9.1% to R38.9 billion.

By 1152 GMT, Massmart shares were down 5% at R93.04 after earlier touching a low of R91.50.

Its shares have shed 38% over the last year compared to the 1.5% decline of Johannesburg’s All-Share over the same period.

The parent company to Game, Makro and Massbuild is due to publish its interim results on February 25. 

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