Pharmacy company Clicks said group turnover increased by 7.6% to R18.1 billion in its latest results, while retail health and beauty sales grew by 7.2%, as consumers focused on wellness and immune boosting vitamins and supplements.
The Cape Town-based retailer released its results for the six months to February 2021 on Thursday.
Headline earnings grew by 8.1% to R920 million while headline earnings per share increasing by 9.5% to 371 cents.
The group said turnover was also boosted by its healthcare wholesaler and distributor, United Pharmaceutical Distributors (UPD), which grew turnover by 9%. UPD continued to gain market share, driven by the robust growth in the hospital channel during the pandemic.
Online continues to be the largest and fastest growing store in Clicks with sales increasing by 167% over the prior period, the group said.
Clicks opened its 600th pharmacy in February 2021 as a further 16 new pharmacies expanded the national presence to 601. "The convenience and accessibility of our pharmacy network is demonstrated by the fact that 50% of the country's population now live within 6km of a Clicks pharmacy,"CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said in a statement.
The Clicks retail footprint increased to 760 stores with the opening of 17 new stores. "The current economic climate has presented opportunities for new retail space and Clicks plans to accelerate its store expansion programme with the opening of 40 new stores and 36 pharmacies this year," said Ramsunder
Clicks recently announced the closure of entertainment brand Musica due to the shift to digital consumption of music, movies and games which has been worsened by the pandemic.
Clicks declared an interim cash dividend of 142.5 cents per share. In the past six months the group returned R1.7 billion to shareholders in dividend payments and share buy-backs.