Shirley Maltz, CEO of HomeChoice Holdings. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN
Shirley Maltz, CEO of HomeChoice Holdings. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN

Retail and financial services group HomeChoice has opted to hold on to its interim dividend, citing a need for caution as Covid-19 weighs on SA consumers’ spending and their ability to repay loans.

The multichannel retailer sells homeware products such as bedding and pots online, and has a lending business, FinChoice.

Headline earnings per share decreased 54.6% to 104.4c in the group’s six months to end-June, with HomeChoice opting not to pay a dividend, having paid 79c per share previously.

Group debtor costs increased 38.3% to R451m, of which R96m is attributable to Covid effects, the group said.

The group said it experienced a poor payment performance in its second quarter, resulting in higher bad debt write-offs and lower recoveries.

“This has possibly been one of the most challenging periods the company has experienced and the impact thereof is clearly visible in our financial results,” said executive chair Shirley Maltz.

The group said it has focused heavily on cash preservation, which paid off, providing a healthy buffer against current economic uncertainty.

The group had a cash balance of R379m at end-June, up 213.2% from the prior comparative period.

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