JOHANNESBURG - South African retailer Pick n Pay said on Thursday its headline earnings per share increased by 7.1 percent to 276.98 cents in the 52 weeks ended February 25, 2018, compared with the same period last year.

The company said diluted HEPS was up 7.7 percent, while group turnover rose 5.3 percent to R81.6 billion. The South Africa division delivered turnover growth of 5.1 percent.

"The group’s muted turnover growth reflects the pressure of an exceedingly challenging trading environment, particularly over the first three quarters of the year," it said.

"However, the positive steps taken by the group to invest in its customer offer found traction in the final quarter of the year, with a stronger trading performance across all formats."

The board declared a final dividend of 155.40 cents per share, bringing the total annual dividend for the year to 188.80 cents per share, up 7.1 percent from the previous year.

In addition to South Africa, Pick n Pay has a presence in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The company said its foreign operations contributed R4.6 billion of segmental revenue, 9.3 percent in constant currency terms, notwithstanding difficult trading conditions in some of these regions.

In Zambia, stronger operational efficiency and tight cost control tempered the impact of the tough trading environment on turnover growth.

"Notwithstanding the challenges in Zambia, the group remains confident about its long-term prospects and will continue to build scale in the region and drive growth through a competitive customer offer," it added.

- African News Agency