Edcon continued to reap the benefits of improved assortments, systems investments, marketing initiatives, real estate revisions and tight credit management by delivering a robust sales increase of 15% for December and 21% for the quarter ended 27 December 2003.
By division, sales were as follows:
Sales Increase For Dec 2003 %
Sales increase for quarter ended 27 Dec 2003 %
Retail Change Space %
C N A
The rand sales growths for the quarter, of 17% at Edgars and 18% at United Retail, are even more impressive when their respective retail price deflation of 3% and 4% is factored in to calculate unit sales growths. Inventories remained well managed and significant sales increases were reported in December from most businesses, but in particular ladieswear, menswear, kidswear and all footwear at Edgars, and menswear, footwear and boyswear at United Retail. Consequently, the delivered and projected gross profit percentages remain higher than in the prior year and moving annual stock turns are over 5 at Edgars and above 6 at United Retail. Cellular products grew by 21% for the group in December, with the best performances from Edgars and CNA.
CNA posted a 26% increase on last December; particularly pleasing as last year's result was inflated by a massive clearance effort. The re-launched book department, children's books and toys, interactive and music were the best performers. Super Mart's growth numbers are boosted by the opening of new stores this year.
Conservative credit granting, state-of-the-art credit systems and extensive credit expertise, ensured that Edcon's debtors' book remained in sound condition. Collections for the quarter were ahead of budget and at billing in December 2003, 88% of the debtors' book was current and able to buy, versus 85% in December 2002.
Sales growths since the end of December continue to be strong. Based on recent sales trends and the profit performance for the quarter described above, the Board is now confident that the growth in headline earnings per share for the full year to March 2004 will exceed the 73% reported at the interim stage.