January 22, 2019 / 1:17 PM / 6 months ago

Promotions lift South Africa's Clicks 20-week sales

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 22 (Reuters) - South Africa’s retail pharmacy group Clicks reported a 7.8 percent increase in 20-week sales on Tuesday as health and beauty products appealed to thrifty consumers in a deteriorating consumer spending environment.

South African shoppers are feeling the impact of higher value-added tax, unemployment and fuel prices but promotional offers, competitive pricing and trading during the Christmas period buoyed sales.

Group comparable store sales rose 4.5 percent in the 20-weeks to Jan. 13, the retailer said in a trading update.

Group Chief Executive Vikesh Ramsunder said promotions and affordable pricing buoyed sales momentum and sustained volume growth despite pressures on consumer disposable income.

Ramsunder is betting on the continued resilience of Clicks’ core health and beauty products as “the current pressure on consumer disposable income is unlikely to improve in the months ahead.”

Clicks, which competes with Dis-Chem, said retail health and beauty sales, including franchise brands The Body Shop, GNC and Claire’s, increased by 8.6 percent, while comparable sales increased 5.1 percent. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla Editing by James Macharia)

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