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Despite a trickier consumer environment, catalogue retailer HomeChoice Holdings has made profitable strides in the financial services arena with its specialist loan business that taps into its best-paying customer base. In the half-year to end-June the company’s FinChoice financial services hub increased revenue 14% to R317m and pushed up operating profit 25% to R135m. The margin was fattened to almost 43% from 39% with net cash generated by the loans business coming in at R95m. The financial services business is shaping a new operational dynamic at HomeChoice, accounting for a meaningful 44.5% of HomeChoice’s operating profit in the interim period. HomeChoice CEO Gregoire Lartigue said restricting loans to retail customers who had demonstrated good payment behaviour had ensured FinChoice delivered consistent credit performance throughout the credit cycle. He added that the strength of this risk filter — coupled with improved collections and write-off recoveries — meant debts writte...

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