March sales for Lewis Group show decline of 25%
DURBAN - The Lewis Group, a retailer of household furniture and electrical appliances, took a hit in the last quarter of its financial year, with March merchandise sales declining by 24.8percent.
The group said on Friday in a trading update for the year to the end of March that the start of the lockdown on March 27 significantly impacted on its sales.
“Management estimates that the group lost merchandise sales of about R80million and customer account payments of R180m by being restricted from trading in the March month-end period,” the group said.
As a result, its merchandise sales for March fell 24.8percent compared with the same period last year, while sales for the fourth quarter to end March fell by 2.6percent, but merchandise sales were up by 6.9percent for the first 11 months of the year.
This allowed the group to lift its merchandise sales by 4.7percent to R3.7billion for the year to end March, while comparable store sales increased by 3.2percent despite the constrained environment in the last month of the trading period.
However, Lewis still expected its earnings per share (eps) to decline by between 30 and 42percent to between 219cents and 264.3c a share, down from last year’s Eps of 377.5c.
Headline earnings per share (HEPS) were expected to fall by between 25 and 37percent to between 282.2c and 237c, down from last year’s Heps of 376.2c.
The group said its profitability was primarily impacted by an increase in debtor costs of R277m, the financial impact of lost trading days at the end of March and an IFRS 16 related impairment charge.
The group operates Lewis, Beares, Best Home and Electric, United Furniture Outlets (UFO) and INspire. During the period, its cash sales increased by 7.2percent supported by UFO, which grew sales by 10.8percent for the year.
The group’s cash sales accounted for 43.1percent of its total sales, while credit sales grew by 2.9percent.