The group said South African sales increased by 6.4 percent to R6.4bn, while sales in non-South African corporate owned stores grew 9.1 percent to R520.8m, helped by the inclusion of previously franchised Kenyan stores from late May 2018.

“Excluding Kenya, corporate-owned store growth was 1.8 percent,” the group said.

Sales to franchisees decreased 30.9 percent.

The group said other income grew by 23.5 percent to R459.4m, while debtors’ interest and fees were up by 6.9 percent to R160.1m. Insurance revenue increased by 6.9 percent to R85.5m, and cellular and mobile revenue increased by 56.7 percent to R196.5m, mainly as a result of the ongoing rollout of in-store cellular kiosks.

Despite reporting an improved growth in the four-month period, Mr Price said the retail environment was expected to remain highly competitive until more robust economic growth is attained in South Africa.

“The consumers have been under pressure as a result of low economic growth, fuel price increases and value added tax increase ,” the group said.

Mr Price shares closed 4.44 percent lower on the JSE yesterday at R229.12.