Retail and wholesale group Massmart’s share price surged almost 9% after the group delivered a surprisingly satisfactory set of annual financial results despite battling weak consumer confidence. The share price closed at R155, despite soft growth in the 52 weeks to December. Massmart CEO Guy Hayward said the company’s performance was satisfactory given that it had been affected by a weak macroeconomic climate, which had resulted in consumers tightening their belts and a reduction in demand. Sales in SA for the 52-week period grew a mere 1%, boosted by cost cuts as consumer spending power was reduced by weak economic growth and high personal debt. When including week 53 (the first week of January) total sales came to R93.7bn, which was 2.7% higher than 2016’s R91.3bn. “But Christmas shopping started late, hence the significant difference in the 52-and 53-week results,” Hayward said. Dirk van Vlaanderen, associate portfolio manager at Kagiso Asset Management, said that Massmart had d...

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