South African retailer Shoprite has confirmed it plans to open 74 supermarkets in the next financial year.

Chief executive Whitey Basson outlined the retailer's plans after it announced a 10.7% increase in annual profits. 

"Our aim is to continue this strong growth in the new financial year and a total of 106 new stores have been confirmed of which 74 will be supermarkets," Basson said. "If they all come to fruition, we should create another 8,000 to 9,000 jobs."

The retailer today (23 August) reported that net profit attributable to shareholders reached ZAR2.51bn (US$3.4m) in the 12 months to the end of June, an increase of 10.7%. Diluted headline earnings per share were up 12.4% to ZAR5.08. Operating profit climbed 15.4% to ZAR3.9bn.

Shoprite posted a turnover of ZAR72.3bn, up 7.3% from the same period last year. If the additional week in the retailer's 2010 financial year was disregarded, turnover increased 9.7%.

"During the 12 months of our reporting period, our internal food inflation averaged -0.1% as against 2.2% in 2010 which means we have seen real growth of 9.8% for the year if compared to 52 weeks in 2010," Basson said. "Our low internal food inflation as against the official figure of 3,2%, reflects the group’s policy to pass cost savings on to consumers wherever possible."

At the end of June, the group was trading from 1,246 stores, of which 167 were outside South Africa. 

"We are continuing to expand our operations into Africa and we are improving our supply lines to support the ever increasing number of stores," Basson said.