When Richard Brasher assumed the role of Pick n Pay CEO in February 2013, he took on the immense challenge of restoring the deeply troubled retailer to health. It would seem he has done just that. "The heavy lifting is now behind us and it’s time to have some fun and try to win a cup this year," Brasher says. It sounds like the type of fighting talk shareholders want to hear. There was already evidence to support Brasher’s bold stance in Pick n Pay’s results for the 52 weeks to February 25. Sales lifted 5.3% (3.1% excluding internal inflation) to R81.6bn, trading profit was up 4.9% at R1.82bn and headline EPS (HEPS) lifted 7.1%. Underlying growth was far stronger. A voluntary severance programme (VSP), which cut staff numbers by about 3,500 (10%), cost Pick n Pay R250m. It took this hit in the first half of its past financial year.Though an exact figure for ongoing annual cost savings that will flow from the VSP has not been provided, Brasher told the Financial Mail in October that ...

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