Clicks said on Thursday its diluted headline earnings per share were up 16.8 percent to 672 cents in the year to August 2019. Clicks outlet at the Mall of the South.Photo Simphiwe Mbokazi 1

JOHANNESBURG - Health and beauty retailer Clicks said on Thursday its diluted headline earnings per share were up 16.8 percent to 672 cents in the year to August 2019, with the retail and distribution businesses delivering strong performances in an environment of low economic growth and challenging trading conditions.

The group increased its total dividend by 17.1 percent to 445 cents per share while group turnover grew by 7.2 percent to R31.4 billion.

Elevated household debts, higher fuel and electricity prices and an increase in value-added tax have squeezed consumer income in a country where economic growth has been slow.

However, competitive pricing and promotions have helped Clicks withstand sluggish consumer spending in the country.

Retail health and beauty sales increased by 10.5 percent on good volume growth as Clicks gained market share in all core product categories, group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said.

The growth was driven by competitive pricing, a differentiated product offer and new stores, with Clicks opening its 700th store in August. The company said it had increased its share of the retail pharmacy market from 23.9 percent to 24.9 percent at the end of August.

Ramsunder said the consumer spending environment would remain highly constrained. 

"Clicks group has adapted well to trading in this protracted economic downturn and we are confident of sustaining volume growth in the year ahead," he said.

"Our business operates in defensive, resilient and growing health and beauty markets where our market-leading brands are well positioned to increase market share."

- African News Agency (ANA) / REUTERS