Massmart Holdings, the South African retailer being pursued by Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest retailer, has posted a 7% rise in half-year sales.

The company said yesterday (12 January) that its comparable-store sales rose 7.3% during the 26 weeks to the end of December even amid falling prices. Turnover was up 13.3% at ZAR27.5bn (US$4bn).

Massmart estimated deflation stood at 2.9% during the six-month period. It plans to issue its complete half-year results on 24 February.

In November, Wal-Mart offered Massmart US$2.3bn to buy 51% of the business. Wal-Mart had wanted to buy the whole business but scaled back its bid after talks with Massmart shareholders.