Clicks profits from festive season boom

Clicks announced an increase of over 8% in sales in the first of its 2024 financial year, as the retailer benefitted from strong festive season trading.

In a trading update released this morning, the company announced that its retail sales, which includes Clicks, The Body Shop and Sorbet, increased by 11.8% year-on-year in the first 20 weeks of the 2024 financial year through 14 January 2024.

Sales in comparable stores increased by 8.4%, with selling price inflation averaging 7.5% for the period, up from 6.8% in 2023.

Clicks CEO Bertina Engelbrecht said growth in Clicks was driven by strong festive season trading, with Clicks achieving its highest-ever daily sales on Friday, 22 December 2023. 

She said the week preceding Christmas was a record trading week for the chain.

Clicks reported robust growth in personal care, beauty and everyday essentials such as confectionery and cleaning products, supported by strong sales of private label and exclusive brands. 

This sales performance translated into market share gains across all core product categories in Clicks in the first quarter of the financial year.

Sorbet, the beauty salon chain acquired by the company in June 2023, increased franchise and corporate sales by 12.3% over the comparable period.

However, UPD – which fulfils the pharmaceutical supply needs of Clicks, major private hospital groups and over 1,000 independent pharmacies – saw total managed turnover decline by 6.3%. 

Additionally, wholesale turnover was 0.8% lower due mainly to the impact of the systems transition at UPD’s main distribution centre in the early stages of the 2024 financial year. 

Wholesale turnover has improved as the systems have stabilised, increasing by 6.9% for the six weeks to 14 January 2024.

Engelbrecht said UPD’s strategy of rationalising its bulk distribution portfolio to focus on profitable clients has adversely impacted turnover through the non-renewal of two contracts. 

However, she said this strategy is expected to benefit margin and support the acquisition of profitable new clients in the year ahead.

Group turnover for the period increased by 8.0% – compared to 2.9% in 2023 – to R16.8 billion.

Clicks’ interim results for the six months to 29 February 2024 are expected to be released on or about 25 April 2024.