Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Mr Price Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Stuart Bird made the following comments at the South African clothing and furniture retailer’s results presentation in Johannesburg today. The company yesterday reported a 23 percent increase in earnings per share for the 26 weeks ended Oct. 1.
On Nigerian expansion:
“Our first Nigerian store of 1,200 meters squared is opening in Ikeja Mall in Lagos in March 2012.
‘‘Our team has been on the ground there preparing for quite some time.
‘‘Nigeria will be a good test for us. It’s the furthest away from our home market we’ve ever operated.
‘‘In six months we will have a very good idea of how it’s looking there and what would be the difficulties that we would need to adjust to.
‘‘Nigeria is a big market and has potential. It’s going to take some time from a store roll-out point of view, but we believe we need to be part of what is happening there.
‘‘At this time securing properties is the biggest problem. This is improving. We don’t have to operate from a mall, we can look at other buildings.’’
On online shopping:
‘‘We will start online shopping next year in South Africa.
‘‘Local retailers have not factored in how much Africa has embraced online.
‘‘We believe this is an opportunity.’’
On second-half outlook:
‘‘We plan to open five franchise stores, 22 owned stores and to close nine stores.
‘‘Our focus is on corporate owned stores.
‘‘We will focus on remaining a cash retailer.’’
--Editors: Vernon Wessels, Alastair Reed
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