INLSA, SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI
A strong strong performance in the last two quarters boosted Spur Corporation's sales for the year to end June against subdued consumer spending.

The group reported an overall 7.2 percent sales growth to R7.6 billion during the period, despite a muted second quarter which only managed a 1.3percent growth.

The third and fourth quarters, however, pushed sales up by 7.5 percent and 6 percent respectively, while the first quarter became the best performer at 11.3 percent.

Chief executive Pierre van Tonder said the growth was driven by John Dory’s and RocoMamas performance.

“The growth in the second half was supported by a recovery in the John Dory's brand, a turnaround in RocoMamas, and the continued resilience of customers in the upper income market in which The Hussar Grill operates,” Van Tonder said.

Franchised restaurant sales increased 6.2 percent in South Africa, while international sales took the shine with a 16.2 percent growth in rand terms, but up 12.3 percent on a constant exchange rate basis.

The group opened 39 restaurants in South Africa and closed 15. Internationally, Spur opened 20 restaurants and closed five.

Last year the group added a 51 percent stake in fast-growing Nikos Coalgrill Greek to its portfolio.

The group said the results included the Nikos Coalgrill Greek chain, which consisted of six outlets at the date of acquisition. It said it had since grown the number to nine.

Nikos added R65.9 million for the 11 months since acquisition.

Spur also increased its international footprints by opening its first restaurants in India and Cyprus, both RocoMamas outlets, during the year.

At the end of June, the group's restaurant base consisted of 620 restaurants, up from 575 outlets compared to last year.

Van Tonder said the group’s main middle-income target market in South Africa remained under financial pressure, due to the sombre state of the economy.

“Restaurant turnover for the Panarottis chain was impacted by aggressive discounting by competitors in the takeaway pizza market, while the brand's strategy has been a deliberate shift away from discounting to focusing on product quality and value, which has had a negative impact on turnover in the short term,” he said.

Panarottis only reported 0.9 percent sales growth during the period.

The group took a knock in Australia and New Zealand, with restaurant sales dipping 14.2 percent following the closure of three restaurants, but this was offset by a strong performance in Africa and Mauritius.

“Africa and Mauritius, which accounts for 71.8 percent of international restaurant turnover, performed well and benefited from the opening of new restaurants. This included 8 new Panarottis restaurants in Zambia, increasing the number of outlets in that country to 13,” Van Tonder said.

The group will release its results in September. Spur Corporation shares closed 0.46 percent higher at R22 on the JSE yesterday.

BUSINESS REPORT