South Africa’s Mr. Price posted a 5.8% rise in third-quarter retail sales, supported by COVID-19 relief packages and demand for household items as people worked from home during the health crisis.

The clothing and homeware firm said in its results release that total retail sales jumped to $500.5 million for the three months ended December 26, with the apparel division posting a 3.0% rise.

The rise in sales has been attributed to the economic assistance provided by government authorities and private sector from the start of the coronavirus pandemic. That assistance has enable households to enjoy temporary financial relief and supported consumer spending, in turn helping the group’s combined retail sales between October and November rise 5.9%, Mr Price said.

The home division continued its positive performance, with quarterly sales up 10.6% as demand for household merchandise remained high.

The company’s sales update came a day after data showed South African retail sales fell more than expected in November, despite deeper Black Friday discounts and month-long promotions.

Mr Price said it outperformed the market in November and that during the Black Friday week all divisions gained market share and its online sales jumped 81.1% during November.

Despite the emergence of a second wave of COVID-19 in December, sales during the crucial holiday month grew 5.6%.

Mr Price however warns that the new restrictions imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to battle the ongoing second wave of the pandemic may hurt future sales as households will be more cautious in their spending due to negative impacts on their income and the end of government support initiatives.

The company said its sales continued to grow into the fourth quarter, with sales in the first three weeks up 5.3%.

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