JOHANNESBURG – Retailer Mr Price said on Thursday retail sales and other income for the nine months to December 29 increased by 5.8 percent over the previous year.

Mr Price said in its largest market South Africa, low GDP growth, rising unemployment and inflation levels, a value-added tax rate increase, higher average fuel prices and an interest rate increase in November had reduced consumer spending power.

During the third quarter of the financial year ending March 2019, retail sales and other income grew 3.5 percent to R7.1 billion.

"The trading environment in Q4 is expected to remain very challenging," Mr Price said.

"Global and domestic market uncertainty continues and improvements in the economy and consumer health are likely to be muted until the risk events settle and the general elections in South Africa take place in May."

It said key focus areas were inventory management as well as delivering merchandise "that offers great value to our customers".

African News Agency (ANA)