Listed South African food, clothing and merchandising giant Pick ‘n Pay has reported turnover growth of 32% from R18,8bn to R26.2bn (US$3.5bn) for the year ended 28 February 2003.

It reported an increase in fully diluted earnings per share of 98.2c a share compared with 74.32c in 2002.

The total dividend for the year, including the interim dividend, was R69 compared with R51,75 in 2002, while headline earnings per share rose 34,5% from R76.01 a year ago to R102,24 this year.

The group, which has operations in South and Southern Africa and Australia, said the past year was a difficult one with its fight to keep consumer prices down despite rampant inflation. To this end it reduced its operating margins from 3,3% to 2,9% for the year.

The company has been reorganised into three divisions, namely Pick ‘n Pay Supermarkets, the Group (which looks after non-Pick ‘n Pay stores) and Franklins in Australia.

The company’s Pick ‘n Pay division opened 28 new stores bringing the total to 117 family stores and 46 mini markets.

At the lower end of the market, the group’s Score supermarket group showed strong growth with the launch of 21 new stores, with the number in Southern Africa expected to reach 40 during this financial year.