SPAR’s AGM was on Tuesday, and what better time to also release an 18-week trading update, 18 weeks being that joyful milestone of 2.8 of a year. Group sales were up +9.8% to R43bn, near enough for the period, with sales in Southern Africa up +3.4%, and the core grocery business increasing sales +2.8%. Tops, generally a, ahem, top performer, saw a decline of -17.9% for the period, “as a result of the pandemic,” says SPAR,” and periods of restricted trading when the ban was lifted. So what have people been doing in lockdown then, with no booze to keep them busy? You’ve got it. Dickying up the treehouse. Painting the tiles in the bathroom. Fashioning themselves a workout bench out of scaffold planking. And generally seeing to it that Build it’s sales grew an absolutely whacking +25.6%. Overseas, much? Sales in Ireland were up +4.3%, +13.8% in Switzerland, and a massive +38.1% in Poland, where apparently the SPAR retailers are coming onboard nicely.
Comment: Some very good numbers, presaging a promising set of interims in May, by which time Tops will have come back onstream.