Despite being well-signalled to the market, Massmart’s results for the 52 weeks to the end of December 2018 were so poor that CEO Guy Hayward made a heartfelt apology for them at the company’s investor presentation. Only a sustained cost discipline prevented them from being even poorer. Operating in a tough ambient economy across the continent, sales rose 2.9% to R90.9bn, with real comparable sales growth at only 1.4%. Trading profit dived 17% to R2.1bn. Key factors – moving office, lack of management focus and poor fresh division stock control – that should hopefully not recur, were key reasons for plummeting earnings. Masscash turned in a strong performance; Massbuild was flat in terms of profit growth; Massdiscounters had a disastrous year; and profit at Masswarehouse fell substantially. Group headline earnings per share fell 32% and the dividend was slashed 40%. Masscash, comprising Rhino, Jumbo and Cambridge, is a major group revenue contributor, at 32%, but the lowest trading ...

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