South Africa

Mr Price sales rise on work-from-home boost, Covid-19 aid

Mr Price on Friday posted a 5.8% rise in third-quarter retail sales, supported by Covid-19 relief packages and demand for household items as people worked from home during the health crisis.

The budget clothing and homeware retailer said total retail sales increased to 7.5 billion rand ($500.5 million) for the three months ended Dec. 26, with the apparel division posting a 3.9% rise.

Economic assistance provided by the government and private sector from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic provided temporary financial relief to households and supported consumer spending, helping the group's combined retail sales for October and November rise 5.9%, Mr Price said.

The home division continued its positive performance, with quarterly sales up 10.6% as demand for household merchandise remained high.

The company's sales update came a day after data showed South African retail sales fell more than expected in November, despite deeper Black Friday discounts and month-long promotions.

Mr Price said it outperformed the market in November and that during the Black Friday week all divisions gained market share and its online sales jumped 81.1% during November.

Despite the emergence of a second wave of Covid-19 in December, sales during the crucial holiday month grew 5.6%.

Looking ahead amid the second wave of Covid-19 and latest restrictions, Mr Price said households are likely to be cautious in their spending due to negative affects on income and the end of government support initiatives.

The company said its sales continued to grow into the fourth quarter, with sales in the first three weeks up 5.3%. 

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