LISTED furniture retailer the JD Group said the period for the six months ended February 28 this year had not been easy.
It released its interim results yesterday.
"This was a difficult period, especially November and December, when consumers cut back expenditure at all levels," chairperson David Sussman said.
The consumer remained heavily indebted at near record levels and high levels of unemployment persisted, he said.
But the group reported that headline earnings had risen to R231million compared with a loss of R30million for the corresponding period last year.
A dividend of 70 cents a share was declared. Turnover increased by 1 percent to R6,8billion compared to the equivalent period last year.
"It is apparent that there were three major reasons that influenced the group's performance.
"Top line sales were down at traditional retail due to a subdued Christmas trading period; product margin at Hi-Fi Corporation was down; and the strength of the rand coupled with the reduced availability of consumer credit affected the results at Abra, the group's Polish business."
Sussman said the tough economic climate, an indebted consumer base and substantial unemployment were not an environment for buoyant sales.
But there were positives that could be taken out of the past six months.
Sussman said turnover in all areas of the business had shown a pleasing upward trend since December last year. - Sapa