Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

JOHANNESBURG - JSE-listed home shopping and financial services group, HomeChoice International, on Monday reported a 17% increase in headline earnings to R225 million in the six months to June 2017, driven by tight credit management and retail sales growth of 24%.

Malta-based HomeChoice International is the holding company of HomeChoice, southern Africa's largest home shopping retailer, and personal loans and insurance provider FinChoice.
Group revenue increased by 14% to R1.3 billion, with retail revenue increasing 14% to R997 million and financial services 14.2% to R317 million. 

Retail volumes grew by 18% with strong demand in the core textiles range and further expansion of the branded goods offering.

Operating profit increased by 17.2% to R329 million. 

Shirley Maltz, chief executive of the South African operations, said the group performed well in the retail and credit environment, where high unemployment and persistent inflation in food and household expenditure continued to exert pressure on consumers.
Maltz said the group increased cash generated from operations by 19.8% to R174 million through efficient management of working capital, with a cash balance of R129 million at the end of the reporting period.
On the outlook for the rest of the financial year, Maltz said trading conditions were expected to remain difficult with continued financial pressure on consumers. 

“In this environment, our priorities will be to maintain tight credit policies, cash collections, and stringent cost control," Maltz said.

The interim dividend was increased by 15.5% to 82 cents per share.