SA’s struggling economy has hit one of the JSE’s most defensive retailers, top tiling group Italtile, which reported slow sales over the festive season. The company, controlled by the Ravazzotti family, saw a strong performance from its upper-end Italtile stores, which compensated for the difficulty faced by its CTM chain, which sells tiles and sanitaryware to SA’s struggling middle class. It has traditionally been seen as a defensive share. Even when construction slows down, it tends to benefit from people renovating their homes, instead of building new ones.

@Small Talk Daily Research analyst Anthony Clark said the sales at Italtile stores were surprisingly strong and helped offset a weaker performance from the CTM chain. The CTM chain’s performance over the festive season echoed the results of a broad range of retailers in the consumer sector, which also blamed weak trading conditions for nominal rises in turnover over the festive season. Rising interest rates, fuel-price h...

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