South African supermarket chain Pick 'n Pay has emphasised the importance of its newly-developed own-label convenience food range after sales jumped last year.

The retailer saw turnover climb 15.4% to ZAR45.4bn (US$5.9bn) during the 12 months to 29 February.

Pick 'n Pay told just-food today (22 April) that its improved own-brand range had driven the rise in sales.

"We are listening to what modern consumers want and working to deliver," a spokesperson for the company said.

Trading profit was up 16.9% as margins increased from 3.2% to 3.3%.

Pick 'n Pay said it is confident of achieving "acceptable growth" during fiscal 2009. The company expects this growth to accelerate thereafter due to the investment currently being made in the its namesake brand.

However, the retail group also warned of rising food prices.

"We are very aware of the inflationary pressure on basic foods and are doing everything we can to minimise its impact on customers," the company said.