One of SA’s largest non-food retailers Pepkor has said trading has been relatively stronger in January, supported by back-to-school shopping. 

The group, formerly known as Steinhoff Africa Retail, said its Pep and Ackermans stores recorded double-digit sales growth in the first three weeks of January. The two retailers reported combined sales growth of 6.4% and like-for-like sales growth of 3.2% in the three months to end-December, with sales affected by a delay in back-to-school trading, which only picked up in January 2020. 

The company, which owns Shoe City and HiFi Corporation, said its clothing, footwear and homeware retailers have been able to secure and grow market share. The group’s revenue from continuing operations increased by 7.6%  to R20.9bn in the three-month period. 

Revenue for its fintech businesses grew by 44.4% and revenue for JD Group, which includes furniture stores Russells, Bradlows and Rochester, rose by 3.6% in the period. 

Pepkor said its sales in Africa, which includes Angola, Nigeria and Zambia, declined by 12.7% in rand terms as high levels of product inflation due to depreciating currencies weighed on consumer spending. 

“The current macro-economic and employment landscape is not expected to improve in the near future. Pepkor, however, remains positive and focused on the execution of its strategy to provide value to customers, market share expansion and enhancing efficiencies in the respective divisions,” the retailer said. 

At 3.30pm, its share price was up 1.21% to R16.76.