Pick n Pay opens 111 stores despite retail challenges

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“Despite the more challenging trading environment, the group grew at every level, serving more customers than last year, in more stores and with higher value baskets. The group opened 111 new stores during the year and closed 26 under-performing stores. We grew our Pick n Pay and Boxer brands across a variety of retail formats,” said [DATA PWK:Pick n Pay Holdings] chairman, Raymond Ackerman.

“We are particularly proud to be serving some communities for the first time, including Chatsworth, KwaMashu and Hammersdale, which demonstrates the strength and inclusiveness of our brand. We are under-represented in the market that our Boxer brand serves and we look forward to expanding our footprint in these areas.”

The food retail group, under a plan aimed at improving its results, grew its turnover for the 52 weeks ending 2 March 2014 by 6.5 per cent, driven in part, by its accelerated new-store growth programme.

The company’s turnover increased to 63 billion rand in its 2014 financial year from 59 billion rand for the 368 days to 3 March 2013.

“Our strategy remains that of customer-focused and sales-led growth. Lower costs will enable us to invest more in our shopping trip, drive turnover growth by consistently improving our product offer, stock availability and customer service,” Ackerman said.

Trading profit grew 18.5 per cent to one billion rand in 2014 from 850 million rand in 2013 while profit before tax increased by three per cent from 870 million rand to 830 million rand.

Earnings per share increased by 6.3 per cent to 60.61 cents and headline earnings per share rose 24.9 per cent to 68.83 cents in the 2014 period from 55.11 cents in 2013.

(WATCH VIDEO: Pick n Pay opens 44 stores in H1)

“We are a stronger business than we were 12 months ago. We are better positioned to strengthen and grow our core South African business, and actively explore new strategic opportunities in the rest of Africa,” said Ackerman.  

“The group now has 1,076 stores, comprising 643 company-owned stores and 433 franchise stores, across multiple retail formats and six southern African countries. In addition 52 stores, three of which trade under the Pick n Pay brand, are operated in Zimbabwe by our associate, TM Supermarkets.”

Ackerman also indicated that the group’s segmental revenue outside of South Africa increased by 27.9 per cent on a comparable basis while it’s like-for-like segmental revenue grew by 9.4 per cent.

“In the course of the year we took clear and decisive action to close our Mauritius and Mozambique franchise operations. The prospects are strong in the markets in which we continue to operate and further afield. We have experienced good growth in Zambia, and have installed a team on the ground in Nigeria to explore opportunities in that market,” he said.

“It has been a challenging but rewarding year and we are pleased with this overall result. We are encouraged by the improved financial performance delivered and the progress demonstrated across all areas of our business. Much work lies ahead in what is a difficult trading environment.”