Pieter Engelbrecht, Chief Executive Officer
In an operating environment marred by chronic power outages throughout South Africa, sales growth of this magnitude can only be achieved with expert planning, exceptional teamwork and seamless execution on all fronts. The Group’s results remain underpinned by our powerhouse South African supermarket operation, generating 80.1% of Group sales and increasing sales by 17.5%. While Checkers and Checkers Hyper’s growth strategy continues to gain customer support, increasing sales by 16.9%, Shoprite and Usave’s commitment to price leadership resulted in sales growth of 15.1%.
As a Group we remain humbled by the loyalty demonstrated by our customers, 26 million of which are Xtra Savings Rewards members. We are acutely aware that they have a choice in terms of where they shop, and we thank them for recognising the value we offer in difficult times. In no small measure, the additional amount spent by our customers at Checkers, Checkers Hyper, Shoprite, Usave, LiquorShop and our new South African formats over this six-month period compared to the same period last year amounted to R12.7 billion. This growth equates to 1.4% in South African market share gains and pleasingly was achieved from a healthy combination of volume growth, customer growth and increased basket spend.
We are disappointed that as a result of the diesel expense, to mitigate the impact of load-shedding during the period, we are not reporting the level of profit and dividend growth normally associated with such a notable achievement in terms of sales growth. The ongoing cost to our economy in terms of growth and investment is devastating, as is the impact on the everyday lives of South Africans, most of whom are already dealing with considerable hardship.