CLICKS: 19,554 0 (0.00%)
Health and beauty sales lift earnings at S.Africa's Clicks
(Adds details, shares & CEO quote)
By Nqobile Dludla
JOHANNESBURG, April 17 (Reuters) - South African pharmacy
and healthcare retailer Clicks Group reported a 13.2
percent increase in half-year earnings on Wednesday, driven by
strong sales of beauty and health products.
The retailer, which competes with Dis-Chem, said
diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months
ended February rose to 300.1 cents from 265.2 cents in the same
period the year before.
The group increased its interim dividend by 15.1 percent to
118 cents per share.
Retail health and beauty sales, which includes Clicks and
the franchise brands of The Body Shop, GNC and Claire's,
increased by 8.5 percent, while sales in comparable stores rose
by 5.2 percent.
"This growth was mainly due to competitive pricing and
appealing promotions in the current constrained consumer
environment, with promotional sales increasing by 10.3 percent
and accounting for 38 percent of the turnover in Clicks," group
Chief Executive Vikesh Ramsunder said in the statement.
South African shoppers are feeling the impact of low growth
in disposable income, little job creation and higher fuel
prices, as well as value-added tax.
UPD, the group's pharmaceutical distributor, increased
operating profit by 27.2 percent.
Ramsunder said the group was planning capital investment of
700 million rand ($50.09 million) for the year, split across the
store and pharmacy network, and group infrastructure to support
the increased scale of the business.
Looking ahead, Ramsunder said macro-economic conditions were
unlikely to improve in the short to medium term, and "we are
expecting the trading environment to remain challenging in the
"Clicks and UPD are both well positioned for sustained
growth and we are forecasting an increase in diluted HEPS of
between 10 percent and 15 percent for the full financial year,"
At 0714 GMT, Clicks shares were up 3.95 percent at 184 rand.
($1 = 13.9742 rand)
(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla, Editing by Louise Heavens and
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