South African retailer Pick n Pay today (18 April) insisted it was “encouraged” by its improved performance over the past six months despite annual profits falling by more than 10%.

Full-year sales increased 8.1% to ZAR55.3bn (US$7.07bn) to the end of February, with gains weighted towards the last six months, the company revealed. Pick n Pay was also able to grow its margins from 17.8% last year to 18% this year. 

However, the group’s considerable capital investment programme meant that profits were down 10.6%, dropping to ZAR1.27bn.

Nonetheless, Pick n Pay emphasised that profitability improved in the second half, when trading profit rose 11.2% year-on-year. 

“Our improved performance over the last six months gives us considerable confidence in the work that we have done in repositioning the group for the future,” chairman and acting CEO Gareth Ackerman said. 

“We have had an eventful year where we have delivered substantively on our plan. These achievements include the sale of our Australian business Franklins for ZAR1.2bn net of fees, the launch of our Smart Shopper programme which has exceeded all projections, an accelerated store roll out and good progress on several comprehensive corporate change projects within the business.”

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