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Lewis profit jumps 21% – Reuters

May 23, 2011

Johannesburg – Furniture retailer Lewis Group [JSE:LEW] reported a forecast-beating 20.6% rise in full-year profit, helped by a decline in debtor costs as consumer spending slowly recovers.

Lewis, whose stores of the same name caters for the low end of the furniture market, said on Monday diluted headline earnings per share (EPS) totalled 772.2c in the year to end-March compared with 640.2c a year earlier.

A Reuters poll of eight analysts had estimated diluted headline EPS would be 756.4c.

Headline earnings are the main profit measure in SA and strip out certain one-off items.

Lewis, which lifted its final dividend by 13.5% to 207c, said revenue rose 12% to R4.6bn during the period.

“Consumer confidence is improving and demand for credit is growing, supported by higher real wage increases granted to the public sector and trade union groups, stabilising unemployment, continuing infrastructure spend and service delivery,” said Lewis’s chief executive, Johan Enslin.

Shares in the company have dropped nearly 6% so far this year, lagging behind the all-share index which is little changed.