MrpSport’s policy of stocking mainly own brands as opposed to well-known sports brands did not result in positive growth for mrpSport’s 100 stores during the 2018 financial year: sales in comparable mrpSport stores are 4.6% down and the division’s retail sales of R644-m are only 1.5% higher than last year.
According to the interim results for the financial year ending September 2017, athletic footwear recorded the highest sales growth (10.4%) in this division, with three athletes running in Maxed running shoes being awarded Comrades gold medals. Fitness drove the 3-4% growth in apparel sold in these stores, although outdoor apparel sales were disappointing, the group said in their report to investors. Equipment and accessory sales dropped 5.9%.
During the period they opened 8 new mrpSport stores – the 100th was opened in September 2017 – and expanded one, which contributed to the division’s 6.3% weighted average space growth. Two stores were closed during the period. Trading density is 3.5% lower at R22 294/m2.
MrpSport’s online sales grew 3.1%, but it only constitutes 4% of its total sales. The value of online sales once again indicate that many likes and followers do not necessarily translate into online sales, especially in sport and outdoor. Mrp has 1-m Facebook fans, 293 000 Instagram followers and generated 3-m views on YouTube – yet the R90.6-m value of online sales represent only 1.3% of the group’s total sales (even though online sales grew 6.4% over the past year). Social media also failed to grow mrpSport sales.
The Mr Price Group Limited, however, reported positive results for 2018 in the period until September 2017: revenue grew 6.7% to R9.8-bn and the operating profit of R1.5-bn is 22% up on last year. South African sales grew 7% (compared to 0.8% growth in 2016) and both cash sales (7.2% up) and credit sales (5.1% up) grew. Non-South African sales grew 3.6%.
In the Apparel segment sales grew 9% (mrp 9.7%; Milady’s 11.7% and mrpSport 1.5%) and operating profit grew 42.5%.