The Foschini Group sees strong sales – except for cosmetics, cellphones due to shortages

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The Foschini Group, which also owns retailers like Markham, Jet, @home, American Swiss, Sterns and Totalsports, reported turnover growth of 17.3% over the quarter to end-December, compared to the same period in 2020.

Its share price jumped almost 6% to R137.85 on Friday morning, following the update.

For the nine months to December, its clothing turnover across its African business (including South Africa) was 44% higher than in 2020. Homeware sales rose 33%, while jewellery was up 27%.

The group says turnover over the local festive period exceeded expectations. Its turnover in December was up 23% compared to the same month in 2020.

The group saw robust Black Friday turnover (R422 million compared to R341 million in the previous financial year), while the week before Christmas delivered R380 million more retail turnover than in the previous financial year.

"All merchandise categories grew retail turnover compared to the same quarter in the previous financial year, except for the most discretionary category, cosmetics, and cellphones, largely due to international supply chain disruptions."

Cosmetics sales dropped almost 5% in October to December, while cellphone sales were down 2%.

Cash retail turnover contributes almost 71% of total sales for the nine months to December 2021, but there was strong growth in credit sales, with the company saying approval rates for new accounts have "normalised" after a clampdown during the pandemic. Credit retail turnover for the three months to December grew by 19% compared to the same period in the previous financial year.

Online retail turnover contributed 3.2% to total sales in the local market.

Its UK-based clothing retailer TFG London, which owns womenswear brands like Hobbs, Phase Eight and Whistles, saw retail turnover growth of 48% (in pounds) for the nine months to December. The group says the business' recovery was dampened in December when the UK government announced a move to 'Plan B' lockdown measures to help slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

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