As with other retailers at this stage in the uncompromising economic environment, the results of Spar Group reflect "the weak state of consumer buying power and confidence", the company laments. Spar describes its overall results as modest. However, its performance in SA was particularly disappointing, says CEO Graham O’Connor. Spar operates in Switzerland and Ireland as well. "Our SA sales were okay at 4.5%, but we did not control our expenses well enough," he says. Overall, its turnover was up 5.3% to R95.5bn for the year ending September 30, while gross profit rose 14.6% to R9.6bn.As for Christmas trading in SA, O’Connor expects it to be slightly better than last year. Electus Fund Managers equity analyst Damon Buss expects food retailers to struggle over Christmas. While inflation has come down, there hasn’t been a huge uptick in volumes. "It’s hard to assess, because [retailers] measure their baskets differently. There is a sense that there’s been a general reduction in consump...

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