April 19, 2017 / 6:00 AM / in 9 months

South Africa's Pick n Pay posts rise in full-year profit

JOHANNESBURG, April 19 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Pick n Pay posted an 18 percent rise in full-year profit on Wednesday, as the grocer cut costs while consumers struggle in its home market.

Pick n Pay said headline earnings per share (EPS) was 264.35 cents in the year to end-February compared with 224.04 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS is the mostly widely used profit measure in South Africa and excludes certain one-off items.

Profit growth slowed from 26.4 percent the previous period as consumers at all income levels are finding it harder to make ends meet, Pick n Pay said in a statement, adding that it did improve margins by keeping labour costs in particular in check.

“A stronger gross profit margin and well-controlled costs demonstrate the value of the Group’s increasingly centralised supply chain and greater operating efficiency in a low-growth environment,” the firm said.

Sales grew 7 percent, slowing from last year’s 8.2 percent, reflecting the difficult trading environment and some disruption from store refurbishments and closures. (Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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