South African retail group Shoprite has reported a 27.6% increase in trading profit for the 2007 fiscal year to ZAR1.6bn (US$222m), on sales up 16.2% to just under ZAR39bn.

Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson said: "Owing to high consumer spending, the whole of the retail sector grew strongly. In addition, our advanced infrastructure enabled us to maximise opportunities offered by the market and to overcome problem areas that might otherwise have had a negative effect on results."

Shoprite's non-South African operations posted a 29.4% increase in revenues to ZAR3.8bn, with Zambia, Namibia and Angola the best performing countries. The company now operates some 95 outlets across 16 countries outside South Africa.

Looking ahead, Basson said he did not expect the current level of group sales and profit growth being maintained in the 2008 fiscal year. "In the months ahead consumers will increasingly feel the strain of the several interest rate increases of the past year while the cost of living continues to escalate," he said.

"At the same time, one should bear in mind that food retailing is less affected by fluctuations in the market than other areas of retail. The primary drivers in the economy have not changed and I expect us to increasingly benefit from our substantial investment in people, technology and infrastructure both in South Africa and outside its borders."