Spar reports on ‘elusive consumer spending’

By Eamon Quinn

The South African Spar retailing conglomerate that owns 80% of BWG Spar said its core turnover in the Republic rose 3.6% at the half-year stage, and that the grocery market remains deflationary.

In its latest earnings report, the Johannesburg-listed retailer said “despite economic growth in the country, consumer spending remains elusive”.

However, after tapping favourable exchange rate benefits, turnover in the Republic rose to 9.25bn rand (€634m) in the first six months to the end of March, up 9.5% from a year earlier.

In the Republic, BWG supplies Spar and Eurospar outlets, as well as Mace, Londis, and XL stores. 

It said all the Irish brands posted growth, but Londis and XL brands grew the fastest.

Minority stakes in BWG are held by its group chief executive Leo Crawford; group finance director John O’Donnell, and group property director John Clohisey. 

The Spar wholesale business supplying stores in the North is owned separately, by Henderson Wholesale.

The South African group said its Spar Ireland division — which also includes the Appleby Westward in the English south west — were “once again very well controlled”, and posted a gross profit of 12.1%.

Citing falling food and beverages prices, it said that the market in Ireland has remained deflationary this year.

Overall, the group said pre-tax profits rose 9.4% to almost 1.35bn rand in the first six months to the end of March as revenues increased 5.6% to 50bn rand.

Ireland accounts for about a fifth of the group’s overall sales. It has around 4,000 stores in South Africa and bordering countries, as well as Ireland, south west England and Switzerland.

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