Mr Price said excess stock required markdowns to clear, with apparel sales declining 1.3%. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Mr Price said excess stock required markdowns to clear, with apparel sales declining 1.3%. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

JSE-listed retailer Mr Price, whose share price has lost a third of its value in 2019, said on Thursday profits had fallen by double digits in its six months to end-September as it grappled with stock problems in its apparel division.

Excess stock required markdowns to clear, with Mr Price Apparel sales declining 1.3% and after-tax profit falling 10.2% to R1.1bn, the company said.

Highlighting the effect of a mismatch of stock in physical stores, online sales had jumped 19.7% during the period. The effect was particularly noticeable in international sales, where Mr Price Apparel constitutes 69.7% of sales. Retail sales out of SA fell 2.2%.

Sales at Mr Price Home rose 3.2%, with online sales rising 36%.

Group revenue rose 2.6% to R10.8bn, with the company maintaining its dividend per share at 311.4c.

Mr Price Sports delivered a standout performance, with sales growing 12.2% and online sales 34.9%. Milady’s saw sales growth of 8.1% and the clothing retailer gained market share in five of the six months, according to Retailers Liaison Committee (RLC) data.

Both Mr Price Sports and Milady’s saw double-digit operating profit growth.

The company said on Thursday it was not expecting an improvement in the consumer environment in the short term, but remained focused on winning market share.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za