South African supermarket operator Pick n Pay has booked an increase in first-half sales.

In the six months to the end of August, group sales were up 5.9%, with like-for-like sales growth of 3.2%.

The company said that although new store growth was still behind the market‚ store openings were weighted to the second half of the financial year and “significant” work was underway to strengthen the medium to longer term pipeline.

“Lower than expected turnover growth is the result of increased market competitiveness‚ poor availability of merchandise from suppliers and continued economic pressure on our heartland customer‚” Pick n Pay said.

The group said it expects to record a decrease in EBITDA of between 10-20% and a drop in EPS of up to 10%.

The retailer’s full results are expected to be published on 24 October.

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