Jamie Carr Columnist

After a period in which the dominant noise coming out of the retail industry was wailing and gnashing of teeth, followed by jaws dropping as the great slavering beast Amazon devoured everything in its path, along comes the humble Spar Group with news of what it is happy to describe as "an extraordinary performance" for the year to end-September. The customer base appears to have been giving a big thumbs down to bigger supermarkets and flocking to Spar’s local, convenient and trusted retailers.

Consumers were stuck at home, unable to pop out to their favourite restaurants, and as a result Spar’s sales mix switched to higher-margin grocery and fresh categories, which gave a welcome boost to profitability. Overall turnover was up 13.5% and headline EPS by 8.8%, which may not exactly be numbers to get the champagne corks flying in a normal year, but in the context of 2020 it’s time to get out the party hats. The Southern African business shrugged off the impact of restrictions on ...

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