Pick ‘n Pay, South Africa’s largest supermarket group, with interests in Australia and other African countries, reported a 33.7% increase in headline earnings for the six months to 31 August 2002, to 37.76c from 28.24c a year ago.

The JSE-listed company, run as a family concern by the Cape Town-based Ackerman family, who have a 51% stake, declared a 33% interim dividend from 10.5c last year to 14c.

Trading profit lifted from R180m to R261m (US$25.0m) – a hike of 45%, while operating profit rose 34,6% from R220.2m to R296.3m. Turnover was also up by 55% from R8.14bn to R12.57bn.

The ongoing consolidation and work in streamlining various efficiencies in the supermarket and hypermarket regions has led to a strong growth in profitability, according to CEO, Sean Summers.

“It is also extremely pleasing to note a further significant improvement in the levels of shrinkage, again contributing to the bottom-line increase,“ he added.