Swedish fashion chain H&M continued its winning streak in SA, growing interim sales 32% in rand terms. This far outpaced the growth of domestic players such as Mr Price Group, Edcon and TFG. H&M’s performance suggests it also did better than foreign competitor Cotton On of Australia, which may close some of its stores in the country. However, with only 11 stores, H&M has one of the smaller footprints among the international competition; Cotton On has 200 stores. The slowdown in consumer spending as well as political uncertainty hurt local retail results. Mr Price Group reported a drop in retail sales of 0.5% in the year to April 1 2017, while comparable store sales fell 3.6%. For the 52 weeks to March, Edcon’s group sales fell 6.7% to R25bn. Most retailers indicated that they would be more cautious in their approach to opening new stores. H&M has said it planned to open another five stores in SA before the end of 2017. The JSE’s general retailers index has declined 15% over the past...

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