Shoprite profit expected to rise 23%.

Posted On Monday, 17 February 2003 10:01 Published by
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Johannesburg - Shoprite Holdings, South Africa's second-largest retailer by sales, would probably report earnings of R216 million, or 39.8c a share, for the six months to December, according to the average estimate of three analysts surveyed.

Johannesburg - Shoprite Holdings, South Africa's second-largest retailer by sales, would probably report earnings of R216 million, or 39.8c a share, for the six months to December, according to the average estimate of three analysts surveyed.

This would be a 22.8 percent increase in earnings for the supermarket business and its brands, which include Checkers, Hyperama and OK Food.

Analysts said profit probably rose as Shoprite maintained some prices, even after the rand leapt 40 percent against the dollar last year, cutting import costs.

Sales over the Christmas period were up to a fifth higher than a year ago, the Sunday Times reported, citing Morne Fourie, the operating company's spokesperson.

Fourie did not specify the period he was referring to.

Sales were boosted by an average 15.7 percent rise in food prices last year, analysts said.

Prices rose after the rand slumped 37 percent against the dollar in 2001, and before the full impact of the rand's appreciation in 2002 was passed on to consumers.

Shoprite and Pick 'n Pay Stores, the second-largest food retailer, said in November that they had cut the price of foods including maize, rice and chicken, after the rand gained.

They did not give the size of the price cuts.

Earnings may also have been boosted by a continuing clampdown on store thefts and by cost reductions.

Earnings from Shoprite's operations elsewhere in Africa might have been hurt by the rand's appreciation against the dollar, analysts said.

Shoprite makes about 10 percent of all its sales from countries such as Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

'They would have done well in South Africa, with turnover up because of food inflation,' said Evan Walker, a retail analyst at Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank Securities.

'The high prices will still be in the mix in this six-month [period] and we will still see robust inflation in the next six months.'

Shoprite shares fell 10c, or 1.4 percent, to R6.90 yesterday, bringing this year's fall to 2.8 percent.

Rival Pick 'n Pay Stores has dropped 4.1 percent.

Shoprite shares fell 5c, or 0.7 percent, to R6.80 on August 20 after the company reported that profit jumped 73 percent to R405 million in the year to June 30. - Bloomberg


Publisher: Business Report
Source: Business Report

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