By Claire Badenhorst
- South African furniture and appliance retailer Lewis Group reported a 30.8% drop in annual earnings on Tuesday. This is due to the Covid-19 pandemic which took a significant toll on the company’s last month of trading, and increased capacity for unpaid customer debts. The owner of the Lewis and Beares brands lost crucial trading days over the March month-end trading period as lockdown forced the closure of non-essential retailers. As a result, the retailer has lost merchandise sales of about R80m and customer credit account collections that amount to R180m. Despite this grim picture, however, Lewis saw revenue rise by more than 5% for the year.
- Nedbank’s chief financial officer, Raisibe Morathi, has resigned to join Vodacom in a similar position. Morathi, who led a team of 900 people during her 11-year career with Nedbank, will leave the company at the end of September, and join Vodacom in November. Vodacom and other mobile operators in Africa are looking to offer lending and other financial services to a number of citizens who do not have bank accounts, a move that could pose a threat to traditional and digital banks. “Given Vodacom’s leadership position as a mobile money provider in Africa, and our accelerated growth ambitions beyond traditional telecommunication services, Morathi’s extensive financial services experience makes her an excellent addition to the Vodacom Group Board and Executive Committee,” says Vodacom Group Chief Executive Shameel Joosub.
- On Tuesday, Imperial Logistics reported a 65% fall in full-year earnings. Due to lockdown restrictions in several countries, the ground freight company handled fewer containers in the second half of its financial year. April was the worst month, according to Reuters, with South Africa trading at about 55% of normal volumes. However, increased demand from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and healthcare clients meant the firm could add capacity, and many markets have eased lockdown restrictions, leading to a significant recovery. So while operating profit fell 40% to R1.5bn, the firm’s revenue rose by 5% to R46.4bn.
- Global tile retailer Italtile reports that despite the widespread impact of the pandemic, its debtors’ book is healthy. While sales fell 7% to R9.3bn, and headline profit was down 22%, Italtile saw double-digit growth in June and July, and the company also declared a dividend.
- From 1 March to 15 August, Dis-Chem saw revenue growth of 8.8% to R11.7bn. This is despite the fact that the company was unable to sell 20% of its products during Level 5 of lockdown. With South Africans wearing masks and taking precautions against Covid-19, the annual flu season has been stopped in its tracks for the first time in decades. This hit Clicks‘ and Dis-Chem’s over-the-counter medicine sales. Nevertheless, both groups have seen strong growth in total sales.