CLICKS Group said on Thursday that it had increased its annual dividend by 23,7 percent, from 190 cents to 235 cents per share, as it reported a glowing set of results, with turnover up by 15,3 percent to R22,1 billion for the year to August 2015.
A statement from the group said retail sales had grown by 10,4 percent and at United Pharmaceutical Distributors (UPD), the group’s pharmaceutical distribution business, by 21,6 percent, while selling price inflation had been contained to 4 percent.
The Clicks Group, whose brands include the Body Shop, GNC, Musica and the recently launched Claire’s brand, said UPD now had market leading positions in both the pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution markets.
Profit came in at R955 million, 10,4 percent better than R865 million recorded in the same period last time, and headline earnings per share were up 16,8 percent, from 341,7 cents to 399,2 cents. The group said it had generated a total shareholder return of 35,8 percent for the year.
The Group added: “In line with the board’s commitment to return surplus cash to shareholders, the group returned R667 million to shareholders through dividend payments of R491 million and share buy-backs of R176 million. Over the past five years the group has returned R3,3 billion to shareholders”.
Chief executive David Kneale said the group’s retail brands had all reported real volume growth and the Clicks chain continued to gain share of the health and beauty markets.
Clicks had opened 22 new stores and 22 new pharmacies during the period under review, expanding the chain to 486 stores, with 361 pharmacies and 157 in-store clinics.
The ClubCard loyalty programme, which accounts for 75 percent of Clicks sales, increased its active membership to 5 million.
Kneale added that, although consumer spending was not expected to improve in the short term and UPD was likely to experience ongoing margin pressure from the faster growth in generic medicines, record capital expenditure of R432 million was planned for the 2016 financial year.
Clicks aims to open 20 to 25 new stores and 25 to 35 new pharmacies, while 50 stores will be refurbished. – ANA