Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

The Shoprite share price shed almost 2.27% to close at R202.77 on Monday following the release of a trading update that showed the group’s African operations were struggling with tough economic headwinds. Shareholders seemed to be unmoved by the solid performance on the home front where sales were up 8.1% in the September quarter against internal inflation of just 0.9%. Overall turnover was up 6.4%. The sharp drop in Shoprite’s inflation rate, to 0.9% from the comparative quarter’s 7.2%, is good news for consumers. “This material drop was driven by significant price reductions of many basic commodity items such as maize meal and potatoes following supply improvements after the earlier drought conditions,” said group CEO Pieter Engelbrecht. The real sales growth recorded in the latest quarter was ahead of the comparative quarter in the previous financial year, he said, describing it as a “considerable achievement”. The group’s non-South African supermarkets reported a 1.8% decline in...

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