South Africa's SPAR Group has reported turnover of R67.6 billion (€4.12 billion) in the six months to 31 March, a 5.2% increase in the previous year.
The group, which also boasts operations in Ireland, Poland and Switzerland, said that profits in its foreign operations have 'come under pressure' due to increased labour and energy costs.
It reported a 7.1% increase in group operating profit for the period, to R1.8 billion (€110 million).
The group's core SPAR South Africa business reported 'solid growth' in the period, it said, with wholesale turnover up 7.7% and the grocery business rising 4.6%, due to 'increased marketing initiatives' and the lifting of restrictions on liquor trading,
A number of stores remain closed however, following the civil unrest in parts of the country last July – as of the end of the period, 13 SPAR format stores and nine TOPS liquor stores have yet to reopen, it said.
The group's total Southern Africa store network increased by a net 53 new stores across all formats during the period, taking its store count in the region to 2,493 outlets.
In Ireland, SPAR Group's BWG Group business reported a 8.3% increase in turnover. The return to trading in the HoReCa channel helped lift the group's foodservice business, while its Appleby Westward business in South West England has benefitted from the growth of corporate stores, it noted.
'Despite many cost pressures the business has performed strongly and has again reported a solid profit result,' the group said.
SPAR Switzerland saw a decrease in turnover in the period of 1.6%, due to 'extraordinary levels of growth' in the prior period, the group said. The removal of pandemic-related restrictions impacted the business, which had seen a surge in sales at its local store footprint during the height of COVID restrictions.
SPAR Poland, meanwhile, saw turnover growth of 6.5% in the period, in PLN-denominated terms, with the group saying that the strategic closure of selected loss-making stores during the period impacted sales growth.
Looking ahead, chairman Graham O'Connor and CEO Brett Botten said, "The group continues to benefit from its diversity in terms of geographies and business segments and remains resilient in the face of ongoing challenges. Considering the inflationary pressures, greater collaboration, cost reduction and driving efficiencies across all our businesses are key areas of focus for the second half of the financial year."