SA pharmaceutical group Dis-Chem. File picture: Henk Kruger
JOHANNESBURG - South African drugstore chain Dis-Chem Pharmacies said on Thursday sales rose by 11 percent in the first four months of the financial year, boosted by growth from its beauty, healthcare and other front-of-shop products.

The company, which listed on the stock exchange in 2016, said group sales rose to 7 billion rand ($524 million) in the four months through June 30 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Retail sales increased 11.1 percent to 6.4 billion rand from 5.7 billion in the prior period, despite consumers tightening their belts after an increases in value-added tax (VAT) and fuel prices.

“The continuing increase in the fuel price along with the 1 percent increase in the VAT rate continues to put pressure on consumers which was evident in our April and May retail sales,” Chief Executive Ivan Saltzman said in a statement.

Dis-Chem Pharmacies shares were up 5.3 percent at 27.28 rand at 0958 GMT.

The company said it had opened six new stores this financial year, adding 79 million rand to retail turnover, and plans to open at least another 14 stores across South Africa by the end of the financial year in February.

“We reiterate our guidance to end the full year with a minimum of 149 stores,” it said.

Dispensary sales rose 8.2 percent in March-June, lagging 12.2 percent average growth in sales of front of shop products - which include personal care and beauty, healthcare, nutrition and baby care products.