Furniture and appliance retailer Lewis Group reported a R260m hit from Covid-19 on Friday, saying sales fell about a quarter in the last month of its financial year as SA entered lockdown.

The group lost out on an estimated R80m in sales in March, and lost out on customer account payments of R180m that monthit said in a trading update.

Lewis Group increased merchandise sales by 4.7% to R3.7bn for its year to end-March, but has raised provisions due to concern that non-payments from customers will rise.

Collection rates increased to 77.3% for the first 11 months of the financial year to February 2020, from 75.7% in the prior year, but declined to 44.8% in March as a result of the lockdown, the group said.

Lewis expects headline earnings per share (Heps) for its year to end-March to decline by between 25% and 37% from the prior period’s 376.2c. Heps is a widely used profit measure in SA, stripping out certain one-off items to give a better indication of underlying performance.

The share of Lewis Group has fallen 60.35% so far in 2020, giving it a market capitalisation of about R1bn on Friday morning.



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