Brian Joffe. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Brian Joffe. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Brian Joffe’s Long4Life says its Sorbet beauty and grooming business boosted profits in the year to end-February as the chain’s salons for male customers gained traction.

Sorbet’s performance “exceeded expectations”, with annual revenue growing 19% to reach the R100m mark for the first time, Long4Life said. Trading profits from the brand rose 74%.

The Sorbet business, which is comprised of salons, nail bars, dry bars, Sorbet Man and Candi & Co, operates 207 outlets in SA.

“Interest from potential franchisees remains strong. Sorbet Man in particular exceeded growth expectations, with this offering now extended to 21 stores,” Long4Life said.

Long4Life, whose brands also include Sportsmans Warehouse, Inhle Beverages and Chill Beverages, said group revenue in the year rose to R3.6bn from R884.8m in the prior 11 months.

Profit after tax was R356m from R169.7m previously.

Long4Life CEO Brian Joffe discusses the group's annual financial performance with Business Day TV

The company, which listed in 2017 and has not yet adopted a formal dividend policy, said it would not pay a dividend for the year as it had spent R159.6m on share buybacks and was eyeing new investments.

“Whilst the consumer is expected to continue to be under significant pressure, the group remains cautiously optimistic about the future,” Long4Life said.

But asset prices remained lofty, added the group, which closed several large deals soon after listing but has since seen deal-flow slow.

In August 2018, it decided not to go ahead with the R3.9bn acquisition of Rage after analysts said the shoe group was overvalued.

Long4Life said on Wednesday while it had looked at several investment opportunities, “sellers’ expectations and asset valuations have not reflected the difficult economic climate and in many instances have not met the group’s valuation criteria”.

However, it was optimistic about closing deals in the year to February 2020. The group had cash of R1.1bn at the end of February, from R1.7bn a year before.

Long4Life said it wanted to grow its personal care and wellness division, which includes Sorbet, LimeLight and health business ClaytonCare.

“Various [acquisition] opportunities are being considered, together with an assessment of additional and/or new products and services.”