Mr Price Group strengthened more than 13percent on the JSE yesterday on a strong cash balance.
DURBAN - Mr Price Group strengthened more than 13percent on the JSE yesterday on a strong cash balance, despite the group posting an 8 percent headline earnings loss in the 26 weeks ended on September 28.

The group said normalised diluted headline earnings per share also fell 7.2percent to 447.5cents and normalised basic earnings per share eased 7.9percent to 455.4c.

It said total revenue, however, grew 2.6percent to R10.8billion, with retail sales up 1.7percent to R9.9bn.

The group said excluding Mr Price Apparel, revenue and retail sales increased 7.3percent and 6.1percent respectively.

Sales in Mr Price Apparel declined 1.3percent to R5.8bn.

Mr Price said its balance sheet remained strong.

“The group’s balance sheet is strong, with cash and cash equivalents increasing to R4.2bn, which has enabled the interim dividend to be maintained at 311.4c per share,” it said

Mr Price said its Miladys and Mr Price Sport performed well, recording sales growth of 8.1percent and 12.2percent respectively, while online also inched up 34.9percent.

It said sales outside of South Africa declined 2.2percent, partly explained by the performance of Mr Price Apparel, which constitutes 69.7percent of non-South African sales, and struggling economies.

The Financial Services & Cellular segment upped its revenue 10.3percent to R743million and the Home segment increased sales and other income 4.1percent to R2.5bn.

The group exited Australia and said it has elected to focus on areas of significant potential and its Mr Price Home Polish test store will be closed in December.

The group said short-term consumer recovery was unlikely as meaningful economic growth would only return when broad-based structural economic reforms gained traction.

Profit after tax declined by 10.2 percent to R1.1bn and the group maintained a dividend of 311.4c during the period.

Mr Price shares closed 11.25percent higher at R183.51 on the JSE yesterday.