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S.Africa’s Pick n Pay annual profit hit by alcohol ban

(The Southern African Times) – South African grocery retailer Pick n Pay reported a 21.4% decline in annual earnings on Wednesday, weighed down by a ban on the sale of alcohol and other products and by one-off compensation costs.

Headline earnings per share (HEPS), the main profit measure in South Africa, for the 52 weeks ended Feb. 28 fell to 229.31 cents from 291.90 cents. 

Comparable HEPS, which excludes hyperinflation accounting, fell by 16.8%.

Group turnover growth of 4.3% was significantly impacted by bans on the sale of alcohol, cigarettes and other tobacco products, which resulted in an estimated 4 billion rand ($280 million) in lost sales.

Sales in core food and groceries in South Africa grew by 10%, while liquor and tobacco sales fell 31%. Clothing sales increased 1.3%.

Online sales jumped with a 150% increase in active online customers, said the retailer, which also operates in Zimbabwe and Zambia, as people avoided crowded malls and shops. 

Trading expenses grew 8.1%, due to 200 million rand ($13.99 million) in additional costs related to the group’s COVID-19 operational response.

They also reflected 200 million rand in one-off compensation costs related to voluntary and structured employee severance

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