Mr Price expansion set to create 8000 new jobs

Mr Price has made a 25 percent increase in operating profit and plans to invest R1,5 billion over the next five years to grow its business.

Mr Price has made a 25 percent increase in operating profit and plans to invest R1,5 billion over the next five years to grow its business.

The retailer said yesterday, when it released its interim results for the six months ended in September, that the expansion plan meant a lot of new stores and new jobs - a further 8000 new positions would be created over the next five years.

Alastair McArthur, Mr Price group chief executive, said: "We remain committed to our space expansion strategy we commenced five years ago, and we plan to invest more than R1,5 billion in the growth of our business over the next five years."

In the 2007 financial year the group increased the number of stores from 761 to 829.

McArthur said in the first half of theirfinancial year, the chain opened four Express concept stores and it plans to convert 60 existing stores in similar small-town locations.

The group also plans to open four Mr Price Kids stand-alone stores before Christmas.

Group operating profits grew to R261million and retail sales grew by 22 percent to R3,3 billion, with comparable sales growing by 11,3%.

The group said the effect of interest-rate increases, the National Credit Act and price increases had affected consumer spending. This resulted in a slowing in retail sales from June.

McArthur said he was satisfied with the results in a softer trading climate.

"Our apparel chains, which constitute the lion's share of our business, performed really well and ahead of expectation, with sales up by 24% and profits up by 47%," he said.

Mr Price's share price was down 0,98 percent in yesterday's trade. - I-Net Bridge

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