Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Retailer Truworths, which was forced to write down its UK business by a third recently, said on Thursday that retail sales in that country were flat in the 18 weeks to November 4, although its African operations performed better.

Group sales rose 2% to R6.3bn, with the African operations rising 3% to R4.6bn.

In the UK, sales fell 1% in rand terms, but were flat in pound terms, the company said.

“Although the trading environment is expected to remain challenging, the group continues to utilise its extensive experience to manage the risk of fashion through its proven merchandise design and buying processes, and manage the risk of the book through continuing to apply strategies to ensure the ongoing health of the portfolio,” the statement read.

Truworths’ share price was up 4.52% to R56, but has lost 36.44% in the year to date. This includes a 15.75% fall in August, when the company said it wrote down the value of its UK Office business, which it bought in 2015 for £256m (R4.8bn), by £97m.

The continued tough trading environment in the UK in the wake of Brexit uncertainty and muted consumer sentiment was responsible, the company said at the time. There was also pressure on store-based retailing as consumer spending shifts to online shopping.

Correction: November 7 2019

An earlier version of this article stated Truworths Africa’s sales rose 4.3% during the 18 weeks to November 4. Sales rose by 3%.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za