Clicks Group earnings up 12.9% and rated top health and beauty retailer
Cape Town – Clicks Group has reported a 12.9% increase in diluted headline earnings per share to 336.8 cents in an environment of continued economic pressure and fragile consumer confidence
The group’s sector-leading return on equity increased from 55.5% to 57.0% and the annual dividend was increased by 13.1% to 190 cents per share.
Chief executive, David Kneale, said the group “delivered a good trading performance as all our businesses have strengthened their market positions and we are pleased that Clicks has once again been independently rated as the country’s leading health and beauty retailer.”
Group turnover increased by 9.2% to R19.1 billion. The Clicks chain increased sales by 9.3% following a stronger second half performance with sales up 10.6%. Growth was driven mainly by volume gains through effective promotions and price competitiveness.
Clicks extended its store footprint to 464, with 339 dispensaries and 139 clinics. Membership of the Clicks ClubCard loyalty programme has grown to 4.7 million.
The Body Shop posted an improved result for the second six months and increased turnover for the year by 8.5%. Musica continued to gain market share in all its product categories and grew sales by 1.4%.
UPD increased turnover by 11.1% and grew its share of the private pharmaceutical wholesale market from 24.5% to 25.2%.
The group’s operating profit grew by 10.3% to R1.2 billion as the group operating margin increased by 10 basis points to 6.4%.
Kneale said the group remained highly cash generative during the year and increased the cash inflow from operations to R1.5 billion. A record R337 million was invested in capital expenditure and R714 million was returned to shareholders in dividends and share buy-backs.
On the outlook for the year ahead, Kneale said the current consumer environment is not expected to change significantly in the year ahead.
“Our focus will therefore be on the effective delivery of our strategy. Clicks plans to expand its retail presence by opening 20 to 25 stores and pharmacies, and UPD aims to gain further market share in pharmaceutical wholesale.”
“We are confident in the group’s ability to continue to grow market share and to generate cash, and will consequently increase our dividend payout ratio to 59% from the 2015 interim dividend. Capital expenditure of R370 million has also been committed for 2015,” he added.