Nov 7, 2013
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South African retailer Foschini doubles down on Africa

Nov 7, 2013

South African retailer Foschini Group Ltd said on Thursday it planned to more than double its African presence in the next five years, a day after a rival pulled the plug on the key Nigerian market.

Photo: www.foschini.co.za

Foschini, which runs high-end clothing, jewellery and furniture stores, also reported a flat first-half profit, hit by weak consumer demand in its home country.

Shares of Foschini were down 3.4 percent at 108.15 rand at 1228 GMT, while the broad All-Share index gave up 0.22 percent.

The company said it was looking to accelerate its expansion in sub-Saharan Africa, where revenue growth is at 25 percent.

It said in a statement it expects to have around 300 African stores outside of South Africa by 2018, from 116 now.

Home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies and rising personal wealth, sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly important to South African retailers.

But tapping into that growth has proved difficult for some. Foschini rival Woolworths on Wednesday said it was pulling out of Nigeria, citing high rents and the difficulty of marketing to consumers in Africa's most populous country.

Foschini said diluted headline earnings rose 3.8 percent to 411.2 cents a share in the six months to end-September. Sales rose 9 percent to 6.7 billion rand ($652 million). ($1 = 10.2703 South African rand) (Reporting by David Dolan)

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