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Retail

South Africa's Pepkor May Scrap Dividend As Pandemic Squeezes Retail Spending

Pepkor Holdings has said it does not expect to declare a dividend for financial year 2020, as it looks to preserve cash to tide over the coronavirus crisis after reporting a 13.6% fall in first-half earnings.

The South African retailer's headline earnings per share (HEPS) from continuing operations, including the adoption of IFRS 16, fell to 44.3 cents from 51.2 cents from a year earlier, hit by lower consumer spending.

HEPS is the main profit measure for South African companies and strips out some one-off items.

Dampened Consumer Spending

A nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus added more worries for retailers, who were already battling dampened consumer spending due to higher taxes, fuel and electricity prices.

'The retail environment was constrained with low consumer spending, high levels of unemployment, load shedding and low economic growth. This was exacerbated during March with the spread of the Coronavirus,' Pepkor said.

The company which decided to close its loss-making Zimbabwe operations last year, said its management is in the final stages of concluding the sale of the business with relevant parties.

Pepkor's revenue from continuing operations rose 6.5% to 37.55 billion rand ($2.15 billion) in the half year.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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