South African retailer and wholesaler Spar on Tuesday reported an 8.2% increase in 17-week sales, buoyed by its Southern Africa operations.
Spar, a grocery chain which also sells building materials and medicine in Southern Africa, said group sales for the 17-weeks ended January 26, rose to R36.53 billion ($2.65 billion)from R33.78 billion in the comparative period last year.
South African retailers have struggled to significantly lift sales and profit to double-digit numbers as elevated household debt, higher fuel prices and an increase in value-added tax has squeezed consumers’ income.
In Southern Africa, its biggest market, turnover increased 7.7%, while on a like-for-like basis, sales increased by 7.6%, “reflecting the weak consumer spend,” the group said in its trading update.
The liquor business remained resilient over the important holiday shopping season, with growth exceeding 19.2% in a highly competitive retail sector.
In Ireland, the business increased turnover by 8.4% in euro-currency terms, while Spar Switzerland continued to reflect the negative local market conditions with sales declining 1.5% in Swiss franc currency terms.
Spar will publish its interim results on May 15.