A shopper leaves the Game store in South Gate mall south of Johannesburg in this file picture.

Johannesburg - Massmart Holdings, South Africa’s biggest food and goods wholesaler, said sales growth rallied during the first half of the year as consumers spent more on building supplies amid a rise in the inflation rate.

The company, in which Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores has a controlling stake, said comparable sales climbed 7.1 percent in the 26 weeks through June 29, compared with a 5.5 percent rise in the first half a year earlier.

Inflation for the period was estimated at 4.8 percent, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement.

That compares with inflation of 2.9 percent in the prior period.

South African retail-sales growth grew 1.8 percent in April, accelerating from a revised 0.8 percent gain in March.

The country’s inflation in May climbed to 6.6 percent, exceeding the central bank’s three percent to six percent target band for a second month.

Massmart, which owns the cash and carry chain Makro and DIY specialist Builders Warehouse, reversed a share price decline after the release of the statement.

The stock climbed 0.3 percent to 139.99 rand as of 4:20 pm in Johannesburg.

More than 458,000 shares traded, or 182 percent of the three-month daily average.

The company will release full financial results for the period on August 28. - Bloomberg News