Shoprite Holdings was hit by an increase in armed robberies over the past financial year, according to CEO Pieter Engelbrecht.
It takes about three weeks after such an event for customers to fully return to the store where the incident took place, he said on Tuesday, at the announcement of the group's latest results for the year ended July 1, 2018.
This, then, has a significant impact on the turnover of that store.
In response to the increase in such incidents, the group has increased its spending on security in order to ensure the safety of its staff and customers. Measures include security cameras as well as trucks to keep shrinkage in check.
Shoprite reported that diluted headline earnings per share were down 3.8% to 968.7c. Net profit for the year was R5.2bn. Trading profit was down 1.4% to R8bn, compared to R8.13bn reported in 2017.
The group declared a dividend of 279 cents per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 484c – compared to 504c reported last year.
Overall turnover increased 3.1% to R145.3bn, negatively affected by hyperinflation in Angola, Engelbrecht said. Excluding the adjustment, turnover would have grown by 3.6%.
Turnover in non-SA markets declined by 7%, this after "exceptional growth" in the previous year. This was mainly due to slow economic recoveries and currency fluctuations.
The group anticipates sales in non-SA markets will remain under pressure. "We expect continued currency weakness and foreign exchange shortages," Engelbrecht said.
Locally, South African market operations managed to increase turnover by 5.7%, despite deflation in selling prices for six out of the twelve months in the year.
Engelbrecht described the past financial year as one of the "toughest" he could recall, referring, among other factors, to the listeriosis outbreak in South Africa.
During the period, however, the retailer opened a net of 124 corporate stores, up from 109 reported in 2017, and created over 3 600 jobs.
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