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Mr Price third-quarter sales up

Clothing and home goods retailer Mr Price Group posted an 8,4% rise in third-quarter sales, bolstered by its apparel unit.

Mr Price, which operates chain stores of the same name and Miladys, said on Thursday its clothing unit — accounting for more than 70% of sales — boosted sales by 10,4% in the quarter to end December.

The company said its homeware division grew sales by 3,2% as consumers put off purchases of big-ticket items such as furniture.

“Sales for the quarter were in line with expectations, which took into account the recession and the very high base in the same quarter last year,” the company said.

Inflation for the period was 5,1% and cash sales constituted 84,6% of total sales, Mr Price said.

After years of bumper growth fuelled by a fast-growing black middle class, South African retailers have struggled to keep sales and profit rising faster than inflation, as the economic downturn and job losses dampen consumer spending.

But retailers like Mr Price that target the lower end of the market are faring better than more upscale rivals such as Truworths or Foschini, as hard-pressed customers opt for cheaper products. — Reuters

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