SPAR delivered, as the expression goes, a solid set of results for the six months ending March 2011, with turnover up 9.1% to R19.1billions, and operating profit up 4.1% to R706million. Captain Hook is cautiously optimistic about likely trading conditions for the rest of the year, although factors like rising fuel and utility prices will continue to put the squeeze on shoppers, he believes. He is also of the view that the business in turn needs to be squeezed harder to deliver the sorts of results that happy punters have come to expect from the business. For example, while warehouse volumes were 6.9% up for the period in question, costs were up 16.8%, due in part to the rising price of getting goods to stores, but also because of the 11 stores SPAR has bought back from members in order to keep the footprint up, and all the bills associated with running those. And then there was the move of Build it (which grew turnover a whacking 21.4%) into wholesaling, itself a not inexpensive exercise.
Comment: A business quietly continuing to deliver the goods, quite literally, as it always has, in some tough trading conditions.