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Pepkor is finally free of its Steinhoff shadow. But the low-cost retailer is about to endure a gruelling war for customers as groups including Mr Price, TFG and even Truworths trade in the domain in which it has long been king.

Still, given its first-half performance, where headline earnings jumped 28.3% to 91.5c a share, you’d be hard-pressed to bet against the retailer.  For example, the company offers a complete school uniform at R20 less than it cost two years ago.  Pepkor CEO Leon Lourens says 97% of products sold at Pep are cheaper than the competition. A fifth of the billion products it sells every year — including the 5.4-million babygrows, 8.1-million school shirts and 40.5-million T-shirts — are the same price or lower than they cost in 2020. That’s crucial when half of Pep’s customers earn less than R5,000 a month...

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