Dis-Chem has finally listed on the JSE, seven years after its CEO and co-founder Ivan Saltzman first hinted it was a move being considered. The question investors will now be asking is: which is the better bet, Clicks or Dis-Chem? It is not an easy choice. Both have powerful management teams, robust business models and well-defined growth plans. Historical performance provides one means of weighing up their merits. Clicks has shone under David Kneale, its CEO since January 2006. In the 10 years to August 2016 Clicks set a cracking pace, growing headline EPS (HEPS) at an average of 20%/year and dividends at 23.4%/year. Over the 10 years, return on equity soared from 14% to 49%. Unfortunately Dis-Chem does not provide a depth of historical data, its prelisting statement disclosing figures only for the three financial years to February 2016 and interim figures for the 2017 and 2016 financial years. Dis-Chem’s figures present a mixed picture, arguably a rather disappointing one which sw...

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