Mr Price Group lifted sales by 14.9 percent and comparable store sales grew 9.5 percent in the 18 weeks to August 4, the clothing and homeware retailer said yesterday.
In a trading update for the first four months of the current year, the group said it had opened 24 stores and closed five since the year end, increasing total and weighted trading space by 3.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
The apparel division, which includes Mr Price, Miladys and Mr Price Sports and represents 71.6 percent of the group’s total sales, increased sales by 15 percent. The division’s comparable sales rose 9.3 percent.
The homeware division, which trades under Mr Price Home and Sheet Street, increased its sales by 14.4 percent with comparable sales up by 10.1 percent. Units sold in this division increased by 10 percent.
Cash sales accounted for 78.5 percent of total group sales, down from 81.2 percent in the same period last year.
Syd Vianello, a retail analyst at Nedbank Capital, said although the numbers were coming off from a low base, “they were astonishingly good”.
He said this was a clear indication that clothing sales had been particularly strong and was a good reflection of the retail sales data in the past four months. In the group’s results for the year to March, Mr Price said that it sold 7.9 million pairs of jeans and 22.1 million T-shirts. Mr Price also launched its online store in July.
Vianello added that Mr Price Group had, like most of the fashion retailers, pushed its sales through credit store accounts. “They have, like many of the other fashion retailers, gained market share from Edcon, which has struggled to hold on to their market,” he said.
However, he was concerned about the unsecured lending trend, saying that he hoped retailers would get their money back.
Edcon, which owns brands such as Boardmans, Jet, Edgars and Legit stores, reported a rise of 1.9 percent in sales growth for the first quarter, but its same-stores sales fell by 2.5 percent.
Mr Price Group shares fell 1.33 percent to close at R136.75 yesterday.