South Africa's Spar Group has reported a 8.8% increase in full-year earnings, supported by strong demand for groceries during the coronavirus lockdown period.
The grocery chain and wholesaler, which also has operations in Ireland, Switzerland, Poland and the UK, said normalised diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) rose to 1,262.6 cents in the year to September 30, from 1,160.6 cents a year earlier.
Spar declared an annual dividend of 865 cents per share, up 8.1% from the previous year.
Group turnover rose 13.5% to 124.3 billion rand (€6.83 billion), while profitability increased 15.6%, driven up by a change in the sales mix, as more home consumption boosted higher-margin grocery and fresh categories.
Performance By Division
The group reported revenue of 78.6 billion rand (€4.32 billion) at its Southern Africa operations, with its Spar banner seeing sales of 62.8 billion rand.
In South Africa, the firm's core food business benefited from strong demand for groceries, despite curbs on liquor sales that cost almost a third of total trading days – its TOPS at Spar liquor store banner saw revenues drop by around 16% compared to the previous year.
In Ireland, the group benefited from its prevalence of neighbourhood stores at a time when shoppers favoured convenience stores over big supermarkets. Revenue in Ireland stood at 29.9 billion rand (€1.64 billion), up from 24.8 billion rand (€1.36) a year earlier.
In Switzerland, the group saw revenue rise to 13.6 billion rand (€750 million), from 10.36 billion rand (€570 million), while its recently acquired retail business in Poland proved vulnerable to the lockdown curbs, disrupting the group's growth plans for the Polish market.
Nonetheless, the Polish business still swelled group turnover by 2.1 billion rand (€1.15 billion), the group said.